COUNCIL bosses have awarded bus contracts worth £3.3m that will see new services.
Durham County Council has completed the process of re-tendering for subsidised services in the south, centre and east of the county.
About 80 per cent of contracts have now been re-tendered, with 15 per cent awarded to Arriva, 13 per cent to Go North East and 73 per cent to smaller operators.
Bus company Arriva North East say the changes will see some new routes launched to provide direct links from Trimdon Village, Trimdon Grange, Trimdon Colliery and Deaf Hill.
It is also planning to improve the frequency on a number of commercial routes, including services between Peterlee, Durham and Hartlepool.
Go North East said it will be operating most of the services around Peterlee on a commercial basis, saving the county council about £200,000 a year.
The contracts cover services that would otherwise not operate because they are not economically viable for operators, but which provide vital services for rural and smaller communities.
This includes wholly subsidised daytime services, contracts which extend the operational hours, days or route of commercial services and those that provide a single additional journey on a specific route.
Coun Neil Foster, the council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Despite a wide variation in the tender prices, we have been able to ensure the overall cost is in line with last year.”
Tom Dodds, stakeholder manager at Go North East, the region’s largest bus company, said from October 28, Go North East will be operating most of the Monday to Friday daytime East Durham services around Peterlee on a commercial basis, saving the county council about £200,000 a year.
The firm has also won a new contract for the evening service 239 between Easington Village, Peterlee and Sedgefield.
Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North-East, said: “We have not been successful in some of the tenders we submitted.
“However, as part of the revised arrangements, we will be introducing some new routes, including a service which will provide direct links from Trimdon Village, Trimdon Grange, Trimdon Colliery and Deaf Hill.
“At the same time, we will be improving frequency on a number of commercial routes, including a service between West Auckland and Durham, service 43 between Esh Winning and Durham, services between Peterlee, Durham and Hartlepool, and between Coxhoe, Bowburn and Durham.”
A report on the re-tendering process will be presented to the council’s cabinet when they meet at County Hall on Wednesday, October 10.