Sunderland’s National Glass Centre and neighbouring residential areas are to be served by a new regular bus service from today (Monday 16 September 2019).
The new 702 service has been introduced by the Connect 700 Partnership.
It comes after lobbying by the local community for better bus links to serve the Chillingham House sheltered housing complex and residential areas close to the National Glass Centre.
The new service is possible because of changes to the road layout in the area and the reintroduction of two-way traffic on Dame Dorothy Street as part of the Northern Gateway project. The changes have allowed buses to serve Liberty Way in their schedule and bring the area back onto the bus network.
The Sunderland Connect service is overseen through a partnership between Sunderland City Council, Nexus and the University of Sunderland, and operated by Go North East.
It has been operating since 2011 and in January this year it was upgraded with the introduction of three brand new Optare Solo low emission buses.
Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Amy Wilson said: “This latest development of the Sunderland Connect Service will provide a better service to a part of the city that has suffered from a lack of buses in the recent past.
“In particular, this new service will help older residents of Chillingham House to get out and about. The change will help improve the service still further, and hopefully attract even more regular passengers in the future.
“The 700/2 provides people with an accessible, affordable and convenient way of travelling to and through the city centre, to some very popular destinations.
“The joint backing of the 700/2 with our partners at Nexus and the University of Sunderland is also another demonstration of this city’s commitment to promoting public transport, and working together to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.”
The Connect service was first launched in 2011, crosses the city centre and links university campuses.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis said: “This is another big part of the Sunderland Connect success story. Local residents wanted better bus connectivity in this part of the city and that has been delivered by good partnership working by the bus company, the local authority, Nexus and the University of Sunderland.
“The National Glass Centre is one of the city’s most popular visitor destinations so for it to be served by a more frequent bus service is great news. This development further builds on the success of Sunderland Connect, which is an affordable and convenient bus service that is popular with shoppers, visitors and students.”
Director of National Glass Centre and Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, Keith Merrin added: “National Glass Centre is now welcoming over 200,000 visitors a year so this new bus route will be a brilliant way to encourage our audience to discover and explore the city as well as make it easier for people to visit us.
“The Northern Gateway and new road layout have really opened up the public transport opportunities and created a service running though the city, which is great news for local residents, students and visitors.”