Service changes in Sunderland and South Shields

from 29th January 2017


In the second major revision to services in Sunderland in eight months, a number of services are revised with significant reductions in some areas, as well as a new express service linking Sunderland and Newcastle.

Service 3 - there are minor timing changes to departures from Hylton Castle, however the major change here is that evening and Sunday buses will no longer serve Gilley Law, with only Service 13 continuing to operate to the estate at these times. No change to PVR.

Service 4 is revised to once again operate via Durham Road. Combined with the withdrawal of Service 5, this sees a reduction in the frequency of services along Allendale Road of more than 50% (with just Services 3 and 13, each every 20 minutes). Most journeys on Service 4 will also be cut to terminate at Downhill, rather than continuing on to Town End Farm, halving the overall frequency of services in this area also. This change will see the PVR reduce by one, to ten vehicles.

Service 5 is withdrawn, replaced between the City Centre and Chester Road by revised service 8. Passengers between Gilley Law and Thorney Close to the Royal Hospital will be able to use revised Service 18 while passengers travelling between East Herrington and the City Centre will be able to use revised Service 4. The withdrawal of Service 5 results in a reduction in PVR of two vehicles.

Service 8 will be revised to partly replace Service 5 between City Centre and The Broadway. Rather than operating via Silksworth Row and Hylton Road, Service 8 will leave the City Centre via Chester Road and follow the existing Service 5 route to The Broadway. From The Broadway, revised Service 8 will operate via Holborn Road to Hylton Road, picking up the existing Service 8 route to South Hylton (but omitting South View and Greenbank Drive, instead operating direct via Hylton Bank; these locations being served only on the route toward the City Centre on exiting South Hylton). As a result of these changes, Service 8 will no longer serve the eastern part of Hylton Road, or Hylton Lane estate (Hadleigh Road/Hexham Road). The former continues to be served by Service 20 while Hylton Lane estate is left with no bus service. No change to PVR.

Services 10 &11 are largely unchanged with only minor timing changes on Service 10 departures from Grangetown. No change to PVR.

Services 12 & 13 are unchanged with no impact on PVR.

Service 16 is largely unchanged with only minor timing changes. No change to PVR.

Services 18 & 19 are heavily revised and withdrawn between Grindon and Grangetown (except at peak times). Buses will operate via the existing route between the City Centre, Roker, Seaburn, Southwick, Grindon and Thorney Close Shops. From Thorney Close Shops, most buses will divert via the existing Service 5 route to Gilley Law, returning via Durham Road, and Springwell Road to pick up the Service 23 route back to Thorney Close Shops, then returning to City Centre via reverse of outbound route. Buses will operate as Service 18 in both directions with Service 19 withdrawn.

In addition to the extensive curtailment of the route, the frequency of Service 18 is also slashed, with buses running hourly in both directions.

Weekdays, two journeys in each direction will operate as Service 18A. The morning Service 18A journey towards Grangetown will operate via the existing Service 19 route from Thorney Close Shops (omitting Gilley Law) while the afternoon journey towards Grangetown operates via Gilley Law (ommiting Springwell). Both Service 18A journeys from Grangetown operate via Springwell (ommitting Gilley Law).

These changes result in a halving of the frequency of buses between Gilley Law and the Royal Hospital (currently every 30 minutes with Service 5) and sees two hour gaps in the timetable for either Gilley Law or Springwell at times when Service 18A operates. These changes see the PVR reduce from five to just two vehicles.

Service 20 - largely unchanged with only minor timing changes. No change to PVR.

Service 23 - largely unchanged with only minor timing changes. No change to PVR.

Service X1 - to improve reliability all afternoon journeys from Doxford International are revised to operate three minutes later. No change to PVR.

NEW Service X24 is introduced providing a direct link between Sunderland and Newcastle via Chester Road. The PVR for this new service will be three, hence the three tri-axle Omnicities, currently being prepared for service. Service X24 will operate up to every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday, and sees the Stagecoach in Sunderland network extend beyond the city boundaries for the first time since the discontinuation of Metrocentre services 33, M39, M40 & M41 many years ago.

Overall as a result of these changes, Sunderland's PVR is reduced from 73 to 70. Aside from the very welcome introduction of a direct express link between Sunderland and Newcastle, it is difficult to identify any positives among the rest of the changes which simply represent further retrenchment in the city. Even with the new X24, there will be nine fewer vehicles on the road at the end of January than there were back at the start of June 2016. The changes to Service 18 in particular do not appear to indicate a long term future for the route, so expect more cuts in the months ahead.

South Shields

Service X34 - the frequency is cut back to every 30 minutes, and to speed up journeys there is also a reduction in the number of stopping points between Boldon and King George Road. As a result, there is a reduction in PVR from five to three.

New timetables are now available at

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