The following is an excerpt from a talk given by Mr David Malone, Transport Manager and Travel Advisor for the Newcastle Hospitals Trust, at the Dene Centre in September 2016.
David said he would like to expand the surface car parking area at the Freeman Hospital, but Newcastle City Council have ruled this out as they don't want to encourage more car drivers into Newcastle which would increase their congestion problems.
The NHS trust has therefore entered into an agreement with Arriva buses to increase accessibility to and between the three main hospital sites - Freeman, RVI and Newcastle General. Nexus and Newcastle City Council won't pay for the Arriva buses, so the subsidised services have to come out of Trust Funds. This costs hundreds of thousands of pounds per year e.g. £112,000 for the 553 service.
There are staff hopper buses which run between hospitals every 15 minutes but these are not for the general public because staff are wearing uniforms and there is an infection control issue. However hospital volunteers are allowed to use this transport method.
(The below information about buses is taken directly from Newcastle Hospitals' website.)
Direct services to the RVI, Leazes Wing every 30 minutes from Regent Centre and Haymarket on service 46 – the first time a public bus service has operated on the RVI site in its history!
Service 46 now links the Haymarket and Newcastle city centre with the RVI.
Direct services to the Freeman Hospital every 30 minutes from Regent Centre on services 553 and 554 with a journey time of 10 minutes.
A 30 minute service, Monday to Saturday (hourly on evenings and Sundays) between Newcastle Haymarket and the Freeman Hospital on service 52.
Direct services from the Campus for Ageing and Vitality (formerly Newcastle General Hospital) every 30
Improved access from the west of the city to the Freeman Hospital with journey time reduced from 1 hour to 30 minutes (via one change at Haymarket onto the 52).
Existing Service 52 to the Freeman Hospital from Cramlington via Four Lane Ends every 30 minutes.
Improved access from Ashington, Blyth, Cramlington and Morpeth with connections at the Regent Centre to The Freeman Hospital, significantly reducing journey times from South East Northumberland. The new services all benefit from easily recognisable, low floor accessible buses with free wi-fi and improved links from park and ride available at Regent Centre and Four Lane Ends."