SERVICE CONTINUATION UPDATE.
Latest update on our service continuation after 05/11/16:
● Also available in PDF
format to print HERE.
As we do annually, it’s that time of the year again to review
our lifeline services and to assess current and future viability of operations.
to changes in Commercial and County Council contracted services within Northumberland
we have the following service update to release:
First of all there will be NO timetable
changes to any of our services in September, they are currently registered to run
as normal up until the 5th of November 2016. After this date we are looking at various
options to continue these vital lifeline services for the communities we serve.
services 15, 16 and 406 are all currently run on a commercial basis with additional
deminimis support payments from Northumberland County Council. These are then further
boosted by frequent and generous S.o.S. (Support our Services) donations either via
tickets bought on the bus, online payments or fund raising events. All of these combined
have allowed us to complete our 2nd year of operation and evaluate the sustainability
of all our routes.
We have succeeded in re-introducing rural services and links between
urban centres which were long ago dropped either commercially or to save in subsidised
payments. Over the past two years we have carried more than 50,000 passengers across
We believe that being locally based and community focused, tailoring
our services to the exact need of residents, businesses and visitors, has shown that
there is a demand for the routes we provide.
As these services were all based on unknown
figures it has always been a trial and error approach to operations. We initially
saw great success with our Alnmouth Station ‘bus meets train’ service and working
alongside Travelsure to provide a variation to the Alnwick town service – however
the extension of the X20 to serve Alnmouth and rerouting of the X15 through Alnwick
by Arriva North East saw our figures drop, impacting our financial viability to support
the more rural services. To help balance this loss in revenue Northumberland National
Park assisted us in introducing our award winning Guided Tour of Coquetdale along
with advertising and promotional support.
The complex yet highly efficient timetable
we run utilising one bus provides many onward connections especially to Wooler (Glen
Valley Tours), Amble (Travelsure) and to Coastal destinations (Arriva).
we heavily rely on inward connections at Rothbury from Newcastle and Morpeth via
In September Northumberland County Council re-awarded Arriva the contract
to run this service again as they have for the past number of years. Unfortunately
Arriva’s reduced timetable does not fit around any of our existing connections and
we are unable to create a viable alternate timetable without disrupting the above
mentioned connections, fitting consulted passenger’s needs or running in daylight
hours to ensure reliability in winter.
This will cause serious damage to our income
and also disruption to residents and businesses in Upper Coquetdale.
● There will
be no viable link up for ‘southbound’ passengers traveling from Coquetdale to Morpeth
for the day.
● There will be no connections from Newcastle and Morpeth to Rothbury,
a major source of our Route 16 revenue.
● Passengers will no longer be able to make
straightforward transfers to Cragside Entrance & Alnwick.
Spirit Buses did place a
competitive tender to run the Rothbury - Morpeth service which included guaranteed
through connections to Newcastle as well as with our own current services to Coquetdale.
This would have also guaranteed ALL our services for the next 5 years (the length
of the contract).
However, we were unsuccessful on the grounds that the Arriva tender
provided more value for money to Northumberland County Council and the community
than we could.
We have been approached by N.C.C. with additional funding support utilising
some of the money they saved on the above contract but unfortunately this isn’t sufficient
to secure our services and would inevitably mean we would thereafter have to tender
to run our own services in the future if we accepted this offer.
Our tender included
the provision of a brand new bus on this route to match our 100% reliability over
the past year. We also offered reduced fares to Morpeth and significant savings of
up to a third for student travel. We are disappointed for the community as we could
have sustained comfortably our routes for 5 years and created 4 local jobs.
past the 5th of November, we have a number of options. We are tirelessly exploring
to find the best result for the communities we serve. We are in discussions with
Northumberland County Council and other bus operators to ensure continuation of these
lifeline services into the future.
Until then, OUR SERVICES WILL CONTINUE TO RUN UP
UNTIL 05TH OF NOVEMBER 2016 UNCHANGED but please remember there will be NO X14 connections
with Arriva in Rothbury after their timetable change on 25th September 2016.
thanks for you continued support and understanding, words cannot adequately portray
our gratitude to you all over the past 3 years.
There will be further updates to follow
in due course once we can provide additional information.
Timetable Changes to Arriva X14 Service on 25/09/16:
Due to Arriva North East / Northumberland County Council contracted route X14 altering
its timetable to a less frequent and alternate weekday / Saturday service, we will
unfortunately NOT be able to make ANY connections with this service from Newcastle
and Morpeth after 25/09/16.
Regrettably to our visitors and residents who utilise
this link we cannot currently alter our timetable to suit. Once a finalised and published
timetable emerges we will look into further options.
We sincerely apologise to all
who use this link but the situation is outwit our control. It took us months to create
connections both in Rothbury and Alnwick with onward services - something we believe
in and our customers appreciate greatly.
UPDATES TO FOLLOW.
NEW SERVICE Service 406 - Swarland - Alnwick:
Supported by Northumberland County Council, this new service will commence in May
2016 linking Percy Wood Country Park, Swarland and Newton-on-the-Moor to Alnwick.
the timetable here.
Service 16 "Valley Tour".
Guided Commentary on Service 16.
As previously mentioned we now have guided commentary
on our popular COQUETDALE CIRCULAR service. In partnership with Northumberland National
Park we have both live guides (when available) and recorded versions.
Service 16 / Arriva X14 Connections:
During ongoing roadworks in Gosforth and Morpeth there have occasionally been delays
to Arriva's service X14 from Newcastle and Morpeth into Rothbury to meet our service
16 to Alwinton.
We have a scheduled waiting time of upto 15mins after its timetabled arrival to allow
for such delays, however we recently have had to depart before the arrival of the
X14 to ensure we complete the hours loop and are back in Rothbury for the next departure
for passengers travelling southbound.
We will endeavour to await for and connect with all arrivals and departures but please
bare this in mind when travelling.
Roadworks in Gosforth are planned until July but may finish earlier.
Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Service 16 "Valley Tour".
Guided Commentary on Service 16.
As previously mentioned we are brining guided commentary
to our popular COQUETDALE CIRCULAR service this year.
In partnership with Northumberland
National Park we aim to have this installed for Easter 2016.
Stay tuned for further
New and revised timetables now available online.
As of Monday 21st of September we
will be making some changes to our Network of Rural Links.
A full Public and Press Release from Northumberland County Council and ourselves
regarding the continuation of services along with new timetables for the coming year
will be available shortly.
Service 15 (Rothbury - Alnwick)
Minor timetable changes during day.
Itroduction of better return commuter service from passenger requests and extension
of route to Lionheart / Cawledge Parks.
Increased journeys between Rothbury and Thropton.
Journeys to Alnmouth Station removed. Our timetable alerted to utilise new Arriva
X20 train station connections.
Withdrawal of late evening and Sunday services.
Service 16 (Rothbury - Upper Coquetdale)
Minor timetable changes.
Will now run via Swindon and Hepple instead of Greenside Bank.
Late evening buses withdrawn.
Service 17 (Rothbury - Elsdon)
Regular passengers from Swindon and Hepple will now be served by Service 16.
Service 18 (Rothbury - Wallington Hall)
Withdrawn for winter period.
Service 14S (Rothbury - Morpeth)
Last Day of Current Timetable: Saturday 19th September.
No Services Sunday 20th September.
New Timetable: Monday 21st September.
Thank you for your continued and tremendous support.
Recent Media Coverage (Downloadable
Recent articles, TV and Radio Coverage on our services.
The Guardian (Web Article)
Journal (Web Article)
BBC Radio Newcastle Breakfast Interview (mp3)
BBC Radio 4 You
& Yours Interview (mp3)
Recent Media Coverage.
Recent articles, TV and Radio Coverage on our services.
The Guardian Article.
BBC Look North TV Feature is available on iPlayer until 7pm tonight (07/01/15) to
watch again - feature begins at 14:26 into the show.
BBC Radio Newcastle feature is also available online now too.
BBC Radio 4 Feature will be broadcast this Friday (09/01/15) lunchtime - updates
Bus & Coach Buyer Article.
We feature in one of the industry's leading magazines!
From page 24 in this online PDF version of there magazine, we are very impressed
with the comprehensive write up we received from Bus & Coach Buyer!
Local businesses advertising opportunities.
Interested in advertising on our buses? We offer rates to suit many applications.
have allocated space fro A4 adverts on the interior of our vehicles.
are frequently in the built up areas of Alnwick, Rothbury and Morpeth and cover rural
settlements also. This brings a wide range of residents and visitors onto our services
looking for things to do within the area or places to stay.
Contact Us for rates.
We can now announce an official start date for our services!
of September 2014
Further details to follow of publicity days and paper timetable
For initial online versions, please see the links above.
Media & Advertising: New publicity PDF posters available to print HERE.
Media & Advertising: New publicity PDF poster available to print HERE.
An exciting waiting period!
It’s a waiting game now as we await paperwork to return to us.
Setting up a new bus
company requires a LOT of planning – but we are determined to bring the services
the community has requested after extensive public consultations.
A time scale is pretty impossible to give right now but our goal of a late summer
start is still our aim.
This will allow us to operate our proposed services on the routes outlined in pervious
Buses & Promotion Days
In the next few weeks we aim to have our buses in the
After applying our livery and making sure everything is tip-top we will then
be travelling around the various locations along each of our routes.
During this time
you can come and have a peek at what we will be providing along our routes, chat
to us about what we are offering and the facilities available to passengers including
Dates of these events will be published here and via all our social
media pages nearer the time.
Media & Advertising: New publicity PDF poster available
to print HERE.
We are still moving forward!
Don’t worry - we haven't gone anywhere - merely buried under paperwork!
We are still
continually pushing for a summer launch date for our services.
Along with residents
current needs, this will allow us to serve and support the majority of Rothbury and
Coquetdale’s key events such as Rothbury Traditional Music Festival, School Summer
Holidays, Rothbury Walking Festival, and all of the valleys shows climaxing with
Alwinton Border Shepard's Show.
We have settled on the best option for our buses too
and they are currently sitting awaiting collection once further paperwork is completed.
This will then allow us to bring them to the area for some initial publicity before
commencing the services.
We do not have a launch date as of yet, but as mentioned
above, we are aiming to be running this summer.
It is very encouraging to be continually
contacted by residents, businesses and visitors to the region with strong support
for our proposals.
Please feel free to contact us (or check our FAQ) if you have any
further enquiries, suggestions or comments.
We are still on track!
We have had more fantastic meetings in the past week or so with plans moving on at
a steady pace again after the New Year.
Both Liberal Democrat and Conservative representatives have met up with us and expressed
their enthusiasm and support for our proposals. They are keen in providing backing
as we continue to progress through the stages of setting up.
Northumberland National Parks are also being very enthusiastic in following our plans
and lending support. They are more than excited at the potential of our proposed
services to and around areas of the Park currently inaccessible to those without
We will be evaluating and clarifying our option on buses next week too in preparation
for final financial costing's.
They WILL be low floor vehicles and we WILL be accepting concessionary passes.
Step by step...
Thank you all for your continued support and interest - that goes to all those passing
information around, businesses, organisations, groups and individuals expressing
there advice and support - we really appreciate it!
Currently we are aiming to be up and running before the summer - as always we will
keep you posted with any updates.
For those without internet access there is a notice that we update in the window
of Tully's of Rothbury Delicatessen on Rothbury High Street and also at various bus
stops and notice boards along the proposed routes.
Happy New Year!
We'd just like to take a few moments to wish all Spirit Buses followers and friends
a Happy and prosperous New Year!
Many thanks for all the support, continued suggestions and advice over the past year,
here's to 2014...and hopefully welcoming you all aboard!
Evening Services Questionnaire.
We’d like your feedback!
We have had a great number of requests for late evening services to / from Alnwick,
Morpeth and Upper Coquetdale.
In response to this we are proposing a number of alternatives
to make each route viable.
Late evening services to / from Alnwick and Morpeth* would
give more time to see a movie, concert or to stay for another drink.
services would connect with buses departing Newcastle roughly 30mins prior to suggested
An evening service to Alwinton via our GREEN route would connect with
the last bus from Morpeth / Newcastle in Rothbury.
It would also continue onto Alnwick
or Morpeth depending on above results.
ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE 02 - EVENING SERVICES.
Our Latest Proposed Network Map
We are still exploring various options to help sustain our various proposed routes.
Our main emphasis will be on the 7 day a week service from Rothbury to Alnwick.
We have built in a time window mid morning and mid afternoon to allow trips along
the following routes:
Rothbury - Alwinton (Loop)
Rothbury - Elsdon via Hepple
Rothbury - Wallington Hall via Scots Gap
The various days these would operate are annotated on the map available here (PDF
download, opens in new window).
This will allow a fixed Alnwick timetable that remains the same regardless all week
The various connections would then allow residents and visitors to travel to / from
Rothbury and onwards to Alnwick or connect with existing Morpeth services.
Times have been built in to allow a greater time in Rothbury, however return trips
to the two larger towns are still possible.
Visitors would also get 3 / 4 hrs along the proposed routes.
Let us know any further comments, and suggestions via our Contact Us page.
- Alternate Options.
ROUTE 4 Rothbury - Elsdon
Responding to feedback we would appreciate any comments
on a fourth proposed service to Elsdon from Rothbury.
This service would run up to 3 times a week on an alternate basis with ROUTE 2 (Rothbury
- Alwinton). This would result in ROUTE 2 operating the other three days (reduced
from proposed 6).
This additional day time route would provide residents of Hepple and Elsdon with
a link to Rothbury while also allowing tourists access to further parts of rural
Currently our proposed timetable unfortunately does not allow enough time for our
bus to get to and from Otterburn while maintaining a link to Alnwick. However we
may look into this if sufficient demand arises.
Let us know what you think on these options by contacting us or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
ROUTE 4 NOTES
> Service will continue to / from Alnwick with no change of bus required.
> It will be timed to provide links both to and from existing Arriva Morpeth / Newcastle
> Route will be run using low-floor accessible vehicles.
> Concessionary passes will be accepted on all our proposed services.
We have introduced colours to our three proposed routes to help identify them easier
as we progress with setting them up.
We haven't given our routes service numbers yet,
they will however gain more recognisable digits before they are in operation.
1 Thropton - Alnmouth
ROUTE 2 Rothbury - Upper Coquetdale
ROUTE 3 Thropton - Morpeth
future updates on our services will feature these colours.
ROUTE 2 - Two Options.
ROUTE 2 Rothbury - Alwinton Circular
We would like your opinions on our proposed 'ROUTE
2' - Rothbury to Alwinton and Coquetdale.
Running in a loop twice a day round the
valley, this service has two options:
(Red Dotted Line)
Both trips run in an
anticlockwise circuit from Rothbury via Thropton (Cross Keys), Snitter, Netherton,
Alwinton and returning via Sharperton, Flotterton and Thropton (Three Wheat Heads).
would setup would mean passengers travelling from Snitter would be on the bus longer
travelling to Rothbury but less time on a return journey (as with other locations
It would also give uniform ‘minuets past the hour’ when the bus is due at each
location (i.e. 1110 at Sharperton and again at 1410).
(Red Dotted Line OUT
& Black Solid Line RETURN)
Morning run anticlockwise as above. Afternoon run clockwise.
would allow passengers to travel between SOME settlements in the valley during the
day and return to there originating point. (i.e. Snitter to Netherton – then return).
from first few settlements travelling to Rothbury and beyond would be on the bus
for longer in both directions.
Let us know what you think on these options by contacting
us or emailing us at email@example.com
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR PROPOSED
ROUTES, Please visit our website:
ROUTE 2 NOTES
This circuit will be a loop starting and ending in Rothbury.
> Service will continue
to / from Alnwick with no change of bus required.
> It will be timed to provide links
both to and from existing Arriva Morpeth / Newcastle services.
> Route will be run
using low-floor accessible vehicles.
> Concessionary passes will be accepted on all
our proposed services.
Alan Beith’s Continued Support.
Today we were in Thropton at one of Alan Beith's local surgeries.
The politician is
very enthusiastic of our proposals and takes a keen interest in developments.
His team too are very supportive in helping us along with stages as we progress.
was also great to receive yet more genuine positive feedback from residents and businesses
in Coquetdale who were attending the event.
Timetable Integration - The Key.
INTEGRATED TIMETABLES / DAY TRIPS BY TRAIN
Making integrated connections with other forms of onward transport is one of our
Our proposed timetables are being worked so that as many seamless links are made
to other destinations as possible.
Along with 'lifeline' services - would you consider using us for day trips by train
utilising our direct link with Alnmouth Station..?
York and Edinburgh are both in easy reach for day trips. Local trains to Newcastle
/ Berwick are also possible and many stated in the questionnaire feedback that this
would be particularly useful for returning from / going to universities and holidays
throughout the country.
Using the mainline network served by East Coast and Cross Country trains just about
any location is reachable from Alnmouth. Survey results also commented how saving
on expensive taxi fares and the introduction of a Sunday service from the station
would be very beneficial too as there is no public transport to Rothbury / Thropton
on a Sunday at all.
The majority of our proposed timetable will connect with Morpeth services allowing
travel from Longhorsley / Longframlington to Alnwick via Rothbury (cutting journey
times to under half the current duration travelling via Morpeth). This will also
allow intending passengers from Upper Coquetdale to continue onto Alnwick with no
change of bus or connect with current Morpeth services or onto Newcastle.
Trips to and from Woller for visitors and residents will also be possible changing
There are also many other services to the Coast at Alnwick and Alnmouth (village
and stunning beach) is just under a mile walk from where we plan to stop at Alnmouth
LET US KNOW YOUR OPINIONS - CONTACT US.
Talks are still progressing with our financial backers. We are more than happy with
the guidance and support we are receiving along with their enthusiasm towards our
We are currently analysing the best options to support us through the setup process
and as this progresses we will keep you updated.
We aim to have our proposed timetables up on the website for commenting on soon.
We have spent some time working out the best possible coverage and reliability based
on our initial questionnaire feedback.
Ensuring a reliable and efficient timetable is one of our main priorities based on
when people have said they want to travel. Keeping costs down while keeping a high
standard for both us and passengers is another aim.
We are still researching various fleet options - all our buses will be low floor
easy access with comfortable seating in a clean modern environment.
Volvo, Mercedes and Scania have all impressed us with various powerful engines and
bodies for rural terrain available.
Any further comments, suggestions or feedback can be made via contact form or email.
For those without Internet access, information is always available on updated posters
in Tully's of Rothbury Delicatessen window.
completed a first draft of our proposed timetables based on the questionnaire feedback.
These will be made available to view and comment on shortly, please keep checking
our website and social media accounts for updates.
Funding [Update 01]
Work is still well underway to source funding for our proposals. We have received
positive feedback from a number of sources who are keen to support us in various
aspects. If we can gain enough interest we can move onto the next stage of the project.
with most items where money is concerned, this will take some time to secure and
negotiate once we have further data available.
Any further updates will be, as usual,
available here, or via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Data Compiling & Funding
Now that we have a good quantity of our Questionnaire feedback compiled we will begin
to map out more specific times and frequencies of our services. This will allow us
to produce more accurate figures for submission to our funding sources.
As this stage
is expected to take some time, please continue to send in any feedback, questions
and suggestions you may have to us via the link above.
Once again, many thanks for
your continued support.
Bikes on Buses
We would be very interested in hearing from passengers who would consider taking
there push bike onto any of our proposed services.
We are looking at various options of stowing bicycles both onboard and onto the rear
of our buses.
Would you appreciate this facility? Have you ever travelled on another operator providing
Contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Spirit Buses Questionnaire
Today (Sunday 28th July) is the posted cut off date for returning your feedback
forms to one of the collection boxes along our proposed routes.
However, due to the enthusiastic and valuable feedback we have been receiving we
have decided to extend the date for another few days until Wednesday 31st July.
After that date a permanent collection box will then be made available at Tully's
of Rothbury on the village High Street for continued feedback and information for
those without internet access.
We will also post updates in various bus stops and shops etc outlining where we are
at in the planning stages.
Many many thanks if you have already filled in a paper copy or our online questionnaire,
your feedback is greatly appreciated and will hopefully help us secure the finance
and funding required to set up the routes we have proposed.
We have received a staggering amount of support and interest from residents, local
businesses and visitors to the area so far!
We will now begin to compile this data along with your suggestions and feedback to
calculate various viable options to our proposals in preparation to submitting this
to our financial supporters and further public consultations.
Please keep providing any feedback you may have and check our website, Facebook and
Twitter feeds for updates and latest news.
Our questionnaire is still available online HERE.
Once again, thank you for your overwhelming and continued support for these new and
revived bus services for the communities of Coquetdale and beyond.
Any further questions please feel free to comment below, via our website feedback
form or email email@example.com
Spirit Buses - Rural Northumberland by Bus
Response from our Questionnaires (Week
Our paper questionnaires have now been out a week in various locations - many many
thanks to those who have filled in a copy and returned them - if you haven't yet
and whish to do so...dont worry, you have still got until this Sunday 28th!
of note have been consistent so far...
1) Concessionary Passes
We WILL be accepting
free concessionary passes on all our services subject to their usual terms and conditions.
After much research we have settled on using low floor / easy
access buses on our proposed services. These vehicles will have space for a wheelchair
and buggy simultaneously and have a step free floor to a good percentage of passenger
More Locations Added for our Paper Questionnaires
More locations have been added to the points where you can pickup our paper questionnaire...
- Tomlinson’s Cafe & Bunkhouse, Bridge Street
ROTHBURY - Coccuveda Gifts & Crafts,
ROTHBURY - Newcastle House, Front Street
Netherton - Village Hall
our main locations and return points, please see below (12/07/13)
you can fill in our questionnaire online here.
Spirit Buses Interview on Lionheart
In case you missed Spirit Buses Operations Manager Steve Hurst on Alnwick’s Lionheart
Radio at 1000 yesterday, it is now available to ‘Listen Again’ on there website -
www.lionheartradio.com and click on the Interviews link at the top right of the main
Spirit Buses Northumberland Gazette Online Article
Our Northumberland Gazette article is now available on the papers website HERE.
Buses Interview on Lionheart Radio
Spirit Buses Operations Manager Steve Hurst talks to Yvonne on her morning show on
Alnwick’s Lionheart Radio at 1000 this morning.
To listen live to the interview, visit
Questionaire Now Available!
Our paper copy questionnaire to gather valuable feedback on our proposals is now
available to pick up from various locations along our intended routes.
Shepherds Walks Office (Former Tourist Information Centre)
ROTHBURY - Tully’s of Rothbury
Shop, High Street
ALWINTON - Rose and Thistle Public House, Village Centre
- Tourist Information Centre, The Shambles
LONGFRAMLINGTON - David Carr’s Shop, Rothbury
LONGHORSLEY - Sandwiches @ Millars Shop, Village Green
Other locations will be
added in the next few days.
Please feel free to pick up multiple copies to share amongst
friends, family and groups.
If you would like a poster to publicly display outlining
our proposals, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are also available for talks
Spirit Buses Feature in Northumberland Gazette
Steve Hurst, Spirit Buses Operations Manager talks to Helen Millichamp from the Northumberland
Gazette in this weeks addition about our proposals.
Pick up a copy of the county's
local paper in your nearest newsagents.
Questionnaire off to Print
We’ve now sent off our paper questionnaire to the printers.
It will be available in
the following locations on the 15th July:
ROTHBURY - Shepherds Walks Office (Former
Tourist Information Centre)
ROTHBURY - Tully’s of Rothbury Shop, High Street
- Rose and Thistle Public House, Village Centre
ALNWICK - Tourist Information Centre,
LONGFRAMLINGTON - David Carr’s Shop, Rothbury Road
LONGHORSLEY - Sandwiches
@ Millars Shop, Village Green
You can alternatively fill in our online Questionnaire
Facebook & Twitter Profiles Active
Our Facebook and Twitter accounts are now active. You can ‘Like’ our Facebook page
and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for the latest news and developments on the links below.
Keep up to date with the latest news and developments view our new website.
routes and vehicles will also feature here to showcase what we are about.