Hop and Shop bus launched

Sharon Baxter at the Hop and Shop bus.
Sharon Baxter at the Hop and Shop bus.

RESIDENTS are being helped with transport costs thanks to a new cut-price travel scheme.

The new Hop and Shop service which is being run by Durham Communicare, formerly East Durham Community Transport, offers return shopping trips to residents in Hartlepool and a range of towns and villages in East Durham.

Trips are run for as little as £4 to £5 per person.

It is a door-to-door service that allows users two hours shopping time at various shopping outlets before they are collected for their return trip home.

The service is aimed at people who are disabled or who have mobility problems and there is space on the minibus for two wheelchairs or mobility scooters per trip.

Durham Communicare’s 16-seater buses run throughout the week and they operate pick-ups starting from 9,30am.

On Mondays, they run from Wingate, Station Town, Trimdon, Castle Eden, Hesleden and Blackhall into Peterlee town centre.

On Tuesdays, they run from Horden, Easington, Shotton Colliery, Thornley, Wheatley Hill and Peterlee for people wanting to go shopping in Peterlee town centre.

On Thursdays, the service operates throughout the Hartlepool area and takes people to Morrisons and Tesco in the town.

On Fridays, the minibus runs via Haswell, Murton, Seaham, Hawthorn and South Hetton and travels into Peterlee town centre.

Sharon Baxter, Durham Communicare’s treasurer, said the drivers will assist in carrying people’s shopping to their door.

She added: “We pick people up from their door and from the moment they get dropped off at places like Asda, Morrisons or Tesco, they get a two-hour shop.

“Then we will pick them up and return them home.

“Our drivers are very good and will help carry people’s shopping to their door.

“The service is targeted at the disabled and people with mobility problems, aged 50 or over – we have space for two mobility aids, such as two wheelchairs, or one wheelchair and one mobility scooter, per trip.”

Communicare previously ran a similar service, called the Shopper bus, but it lost funding and Durham County Council’s Link2 bus came into force. But Communicare stepped in when users said some Link2 services were oversubscribed.

Trips must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. To book, call (0191) 5872883.