County’s conquest safeguards popular tourist bus for next four years
17 Mar 2016 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
A busy Northumberland bus route has secured funding which should bring legions of tourists to Hadrian’s Wall over the next four years.
The AD122 bus service which runs along the most spectacular stretch of the World Heritage Site from Hexham to Haltwhistle during Northumberland’s peak tourist season (Easter-September) is used by both residents and tourists allowing them to visit stops along Hadrian’s Wall.
In 2015 there were around 5,000 more journeys on this bus service than the previous year. As a result, rather than agreeing funding on a year-by-year basis, Northumberland County Council in partnership with Northumberland National Park Authority have secured the service for the next four years.
It is now hoped there will be a strong start to this year as accommodation providers and other tourism businesses can fully promote the service, safe in the knowledge the buses will be running.
Councillor Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at Northumberland County Council, said: “The service has always proven very popular with visitors, which takes them to a number of the county’s most beautiful tourist spots through the gateway that is Hadrian’s Wall.
“This funding is crucial in ensuring that people who maybe don’t have their own transport can access some of the most rural and unspoilt parts of Northumberland. The news will be very welcome to these people at a time when we are facing difficult economic cuts to local government.”
Cllr Glen Sanderson, Chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “It is essential that local people and visitors alike are easily able to access The Sill and the many other attractions and businesses in the Hadrian’s Wall area.
“The Sill is an important tourism development for Northumberland that will bring visitor, education and business services to this rural part of our county and we are delighted that the future of the Hadrian’s Wall bus has been safeguarded for the next four years.”
The service will be run by Go North East from their Hexham depot and will link to their other services to ensure easy access from urban areas of Tyneside.
Mark Ellis, Development Manager for Go North East, said: “We’re delighted that we’ll be running the AD122 for another four years and that’s allowed us to introduce newer buses on the route.
“We’ve also frozen single and return fares for the third year too. Our new Hadrian’s Frontier tickets will open up Hadrian’s Wall to visitors from across the north east and we’re looking forward to another busy summer.”