Funded entirely by The Parkway Shopping Centre, the weekly service is reaching out to those residents in the community who may be isolated after original local authority services were cut last year.
Zoe France, Centre Manager at the Parkway explains: “Customers to the Parkway have been telling us how difficult it has been to get out of their villages to go shopping. As a shopping centre that sees itself as very much the heart of the community, we wanted to make a difference.
“Working with Gary Walton at G L Coaches, we have secured a 16-24 seater coach, which is wheelchair accessible and will run every Monday for a trial period. Should the service prove popular, we hope to continue it into the future.”
The Parkway Community Bus will pick up at 10.30am from The Bluebell Acklam Road, Jack Simon Way (new housing estate ‘Upper Acklam’), Maltby Village, Thornton Village, Stainton Village, Hemlington Hall Road and Coulby Farm Way, arriving at the Parkway Centre for 11am.
The shuttle service will then pick up residents from Turnberry Way, Guisborough Road, Connaught Road, The Avenue, Cypress Road and Gunnergate Lane arriving back at The Parkway Centre for 11.30am.
Return journeys will be at 1.30pm, returning to Acklam first, followed by a 2pm pick up from the centre, returning to the Marton areas.
Zoe continued: “Local Councillors have agreed it is a great starting point, to help those people in isolated areas who depend upon public transport.
“With the opening of the Post Office within WH Smith earlier this year, pensioners will also be able to collect their pensions using the Monday shuttle service.
“With everything under one roof, including many food and fashion stores plus places to eat, shoppers can really make a day of it.”
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to secure a trial for these community bus services with cross-party support from Labour, Conservative and Independent Councillors.
“We know how important local bus services are to residents in helping them get to work, visit family and friends and make the most of the leisure opportunities.
“We’re all grateful to the Parkway Centre for making this possible, and will do all we can to ensure it is a success.
“Now it’s important that we spread the word and ensure passenger numbers help to secure the future of these routes.”