About 10% of the bus mileage operated in Tyne and Wear is paid for by Nexus on behalf of the ITA. These services are known as ‘secured bus services’, and are those which local bus operators choose not to operate on a commercial basis, but which perform a valuable role for the travelling public.
These services are provided by local bus operators under contract to Nexus, with Nexus determining timetables and fares. These can be evening or Sunday services, works or college routes, or simply services which operate at a loss and require subsidy, but fill vital gaps in the public transport network.
All secured services are regularly reviewed and prioritised, to ensure they continue to be relevant to people’s needs. The latest review has occured toward the back end of 2010 with changes to the network starting to be rolled out from March 2011.
Although the proportion of costs recovered from the services is a factor, the extent to which these buses increase social inclusion is also considered very important. The level of accessibility to essential services such as food shops, health centres and town centres will be the key determinant of where and when secured services are provided.
Secured services do not necessarily need to be conventional bus services running to a timetable. Depending on individual circumstances, these could also be demand resopnsive services (operated by minibus or taxi) or taxibuses, according to the needs of the community they serve.