Go North East launches vaccine bus
Go North East has launched one of the UK’s first dedicated vaccination shuttle bus services, which serves the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East in the Sunderland International Innovation Centre, near to the Nissan factory.
The bus, which is branded ‘ConnectorShuttle’, runs up to every 15 minutes, connecting with Go North East’s56 service at Concord, offering frequent connections from Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland.
The service runs seven days a week, from just after 5am until around midnight each day, to help improve access to vaccination appointments.
The blue branded bus also celebrates the fantastic efforts of the NHS throughout the pandemic and features a ‘thank you’ message, as well as a rainbow design which has been synonymous with key worker efforts since March.
The service has been put together with just two working days’ notice by the Go North East team following dialogue with the local NHS Trust and Nexus.
Over the weekend the dedicated bus has been vinyl wrapped for the service, which will also help support the nearby 56 route, currently being re-launched with improved buses as ‘Cityrider 56’.
Also, works at Testo’s will see a closure on Washington Road from next month, and the shuttle will ensure that a frequent connecting bus service continues to operate along the A1290 and also serving Nissan.
There is no extra charge to use the ‘ConnectorShuttle’ service, though any Go North East customers using the bus should scan their existing tickets as they usually would.
Martijn Gilbert, managing director at Go North East, said: “We’re delighted to be helping the NHS with the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and have moved fast to ensure that good public transport links are in place.
“The shuttle bus service offers quick, safe and easy access to the Nightingale Hospital, with great connections available at Concord from Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland on the Cityrider 56 and other nearby local bus services, including the Connections 4 from the Metro at Heworth.
“In partnership with other North East bus operators and Nexus, we’ve also recently introduced a dedicated vaccination bus stop in Newcastle outside the Centre for Life vaccination centre.
“It’s great seeing the hard work and energy of everyone involved in delivering this very important vaccination programme.
“We’re committed to doing all that we can to work with partners to ensure that public transport plays its part in supporting this national effort with good quality, clean and safe public transport links, which is why we have very quickly mobilised this new special shuttle service.”