Thanks to the Government Kickstart fund winning bid, plans for better bus links to the North Staffordshire hospital on the London Road can now taken shape.
Hospital users in North Staffordshire and Stoke are to get a major boost thanks to £388,000 brought in by transport chiefs in the city and the county.
Plans include a brand new direct service running from Werrington, via Stoke, Hanley and Newcastle, with new low floor accessible buses ensuring everyone can use the link with ease. The plans also include an improved and extended 98/99 service from Burslem and Tunstall through Wolstanton and Newcastle.
Drivers will get extra training to ensure that patients’ needs are their top priority.
More connections to other services from Newcastle bus station, with more frequent shuttle links to the hospital are also planned.
Brian Ward said, We are very pleased with this funding from the Department for Transport, which will allow us to work with Staffordshire County Council to improve bus services to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. We will be able to provide more direct services from North Staffordshire’s towns and communities to the hospital. This will mean many passengers won’t need to change buses at Newcastle or the city centre bus stations, resulting in quicker journey times. The money will also allow us to provide branded, high-quality and comfortable buses so passengers have a good journey experience.’
Staffordshire’s Cabinet member for Infrastructure and regeneration Robert Marshall said the package was great news for the local community. ‘Getting to the hospital can be a real trauma for many people, making the whole experience all the worse. The health service isn’t just about treatment and cure; it’s also about how you get there. The county council is committed to a real citizen focus, listening and responding to local needs. Working together we can achieve so much more value for everyone,’ he said.
Now the cash has been secured the team can get on with the complex process of putting all the pieces in place for a launch later on in the year with service operators, NHS Trust and the council partners will all be involved in setting the standards and publicising the new services.