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Flagship Sunderland bus link gets a makeover with high-capacity double-deck buses

01 September, 2023

A flagship Sunderland bus link is being expanded and getting a smart new look as the city prepares to welcome the students back.

Go North East, the region's largest bus company, has been awarded a new contract by Nexus to operate the Sunderland Connect 700 and 701 bus service for another year.

The service, 700, links the city's main visitor attractions. The 701 is a fast and direct link between Sunderland University's St Peter's Campus, City Campus and Clanny House.

This year, improvements are being made to the route and timetable. Go North East will upgrade capacity on the 701 route by providing two modern Euro VI double-deck buses, which offer free Wi-Fi, 'next stop' audio-visual announcements, and USB charging points for customers.

The service is paid for and operated through a partnership between Sunderland City Council, Nexus and the University of Sunderland.

Dan Graham, commercial development manager for Go North East, said: "We are delighted to be renewing our contract with Nexus to operate the Sunderland Connect service for another year.

"It provides a vital link to all the visitor destinations and attractions that the city has to offer, and this year passengers on the 701 route can look forward to bigger buses with extra capacity.

"The improvements being made to the route and timetable will help us to build on the success of Sunderland Connect, which is now into its twelfth year of operation by Go North East."

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: "This is another chapter in the Sunderland Connect success story. We look forward to welcoming customers as the service and partnership reaches a 12-year milestone

"This popular bus service is being expanded to provide greater capacity with cleaner and greener double decker buses, so whether you're a student, a resident, or a visitor it really is the ideal way to get around Sunderland and enjoy everything that the city has to offer."

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, Cllr Kevin Johnston, said: "The Sunderland Connect bus routes have been popular with residents, visitors, and students over the last 12 years, and they continue to support our joint ambition to see more people in the city choosing public transport and sustainable travel.

"This service provides an affordable and convenient way for people to get around, and these improvements to the route and timetable will allow more people to travel even more comfortably in time for the new academic year."

Debbie Callaghan, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University of Sunderland, said: "The Sunderland Connect Service provides a vital link for thousands of students between our two campuses in the city.

"As the University continues to grow, we are delighted to see the expansion of these services which will not only our support our staff and students but also our sustainability goals by providing a cleaner and greener form of transport for all."

Sunderland Connect, which was launched in 2011, is the main route that links the attractions in Sunderland, including the Empire Theatre, the Stadium of Light, the Aquatic Centre, the National Glass Centre and the Museum and Winter Gardens.

As well as visiting the main University campuses the service visits several points of interest and utility on its journey around the city, including Sunderland Hospital, Park Lane Interchange, the renowned Wearmouth twin bridges, the Stadium of Light, Sunderland Aquatic Centre, the National Glass Centre, West Sunniside and the Winter Gardens.

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