Go North East

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Go North East logo.gif
Go North East bus 3962 Volvo B7TL Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini NK06 JXE The Angel livery in Newcastle 9 May 2009.jpg
Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL in The Angel livery in May 2009
Parent Go-Ahead Group
Founded February 1987
Headquarters Gateshead
Service area County Durham
Tyne & Wear
Service type Bus services
Depots 10
Fleet 691 (July 2014)
Chief executive Kevin Carr
Website www.simplygo.com

Go North East is the largest operator of bus services in North East England operating services in the counties of Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Northumberland with a fleet of 691 buses.

it operates through two divisions and was previously known as the Northern General Transport Company and Go-Ahead Northern. It was the foundation of today's Go-Ahead Group.


Wright Cadet bodied VDL SB120 in the traditional livery in May 2009

In February 1987 as part of the privatisation of the National Bus Company, a management buyout led by Martin Ballinger and Chris Moyes purchased the Northern General Transport Company.[1][2] It was the first company of what is now the Go-Ahead Group.[3]

Early expansion saw the acquisition of certain smaller competing bus operators in North East England including Gypsy Queen in 1989[4] and Low Fell Coaches in June 1992. Go-Ahead Northern also became a National Express contractor operating services to the Midlands, North East, North West and South West England.[5][6]


Go North East's headquarters and central engineering department are based at separate locations in Gateshead and Tyne & Wear.[7]

North Division[edit]

Wright Solar bodied Scania L94UB in Fab Fifty Six livery in April 2009

The North Division (Go North East Limited)[8] operate services from five depots in three counties. The division operates many trunk services as well as local services around Gateshead, North Tyneside, West Durham and Southern Northumberland.

Depots are located at:[7]

  • Sunderland Road, Gateshead - 'Sunderland Road'
  • Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead - 'Saltmeadows'
  • Rothbury Terrace, Percy Main - 'Percy Main'
  • Cromwell Place, Winlaton - 'Winlaton'
  • Tyne Green Lane, Hexham - 'Hexham' formerly Arriva North East[9]

South Division[edit]

The South Division (Go Northern Limited)[10] operates services from five depots in two counties. The division operates many trunk services as well as local services around Sunderland, County Durham and South Tyneside as well as providing National Express services.

Depots are located at:[7]

  • Picktree Lane, Chester-le-Street - 'Chester-le-Street'
  • Deptford Terrace, Sunderland - 'Deptford'
  • Industrial Road, Hertburn Industrial Estate, Washington - 'Washington'
  • High Street, Stanley - 'Stanley'
  • Cook Way, North West Industrial Estate, Peterlee - 'Peterlee'

Former depots[edit]

Mercedes-Benz Citaro in Silver Arrows livery
  • Strothers Road, High Spen - 'High Spen'
  • Jarrow Bus Station, Jarrow - 'Jarrow' (Merged with South Shields)
  • Park Lane, Sunderland - 'Park Lane' (Merged with Philadelphia and moved to Deptford)
  • Philadelphia - 'Philadelphia' (Merged with Park Lane and moved to Deptford)
  • Lady's Walk, South Shields- 'South Shields' (Merged with Deptford)
  • Bondgate, Bishop Auckland - 'Bishop Auckland' (Sold to Arriva North East, flagsip services transferred to Chester-le-Street)[11]
  • Unit 7 Jubilee Industrial Estate, Ashington - 'Ashington' (Sold to Arriva North East in exchange for Hexham depot)[9]
  • Hadrian Road, Wallsend, Services merged with Percy Main

National Express Services[edit]

Go North East have for many years operated express services under contract to National Express. It provides services on the routes:[12]

Night Buses[edit]

Go North East operate a number of night bus services (with an 'N' prefix) throughout the region. Night Buses are often based on the daytime equivalent of a particular service but sometimes slightly revised to serve as many areas as possible. Night Buses have their own dedicated tickets, and no other tickets or passes are valid for travel on these services.[13]

Route branding[edit]

Since 2006, Go North East have been 'branding' services. This involves giving each service or group of services its own management, staff, vehicles and identity. Most branded services have bold eye-catching liveries, their own logo and many are quite unique and special to the areas they serve. For example, brands such as Coaster celebrate the award winning coastline North Tyneside has to offer, while brands such as Red Kite celebrate the diverse wildlife their respective routes serve. The Cobalt Clipper, Doxford Clipper and the Team Valley Clipper brands are for services which provide frequent links to major areas of employment using distinctive and easily recognisable designs to welcome passengers aboard. All buses still carry Go North East fleet names in addition to these new 'brandings' as well as either Go North East or Go Northern legal lettering.

Current network[edit]

The list below shows the brands currently used[14]

Go North East also uses the brand Yellow Bus for its Special Services Vehicles and the Brand Northern as its Standard Fleet Livery.

Brand Name Image Service Number(s) Vehicle Type(s) Depot Emissions standard Base Colour
Angel 21 Volvo B5L Hybrid/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2
Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini
Chester-le-Street Euro 5 (Hybrid) Green/Yellow
Blaydon Racers 49 • 49B • 49C Mercedes-Benz Citaro Riverside Euro 5 Red
CityLink 58 • [N58] Optare Versa Riverside Euro 5 Orange
Coaster 1 Scania OmniCity Percy Main Euro 4 Blue
Cobalt Clipper 309 • 310 Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Percy Main Euro 5 Silver
Crusader 27 Mercedes-Benz Citaro Riverside Euro 5 Silver
Drifter 60 Wright Streetlite (60) Deptford Euro 5 Blue
East Durham 59/201/202/204/206/208/209/210/239/265/923 Dennis Dart MPD/Plaxton Pointer Peterlee Euro 3 Yellow
Fab Fifty Seven 57 Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown (Dual Door) Riverside Euro 3 Blue
Fab Fifty Six 56 • [N56] Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Deptford Euro 5 Orange
Fast Cats X35 • X36 Scania L94UB/Wright Solar Deptford Euro 3 Black
Highwayman 97 • [N97]
98 • 98A
Scania L94UB/Wright Solar Riverside Euro 3 Light Green
Laser Go North East bus 5304 Mercedes Benz O530 Citaro NK08 CHL Laser livery in South Shields 9 May 2009.jpg 35 • 35A • 35B • 35C Mercedes-Benz Citaro
Scania L94UB/Wright Solar
Deptford Euro 3/5 Gold
Lime 8 •
78 • 78A
Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown Chester-le-Street
Euro 2 Green
Connections 4 4 • 922 Mercedes-Benz Citaro Washington Euro 5 Blue
North Tyne Links 80 • 40 • 41 Dennis Dart MPD/Plaxton Pointer Percy Main Euro 3 Green
Prince Bishops 20• 20A • X20• [N20] Scania L94UB/Wright Solar Deptford Euro 3 Purple
Pronto X21 • X46(Peak Times only) Volvo B7TL /Plaxton President Crook (Sharing with Weardale) Euro 3 Blue
QuayLink Q1 • Q2 Optare Versa Saltmeadows Euro 5 Light Yellow
Red Arrows X1 • 921 Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini
Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2
Washington (X1, 921) Euro 5 Red
Cobalt Connect 19 Scania OmniCity Percy Main Euro 4 Red
Saltwell Park 53 • 54 Wright Streetlite Riverside Euro 5 Green
Silver Arrows 2A • 2C Mercedes-Benz Citaro Deptford Euro 5 Silver
SimpliCity 61 • 42 Optare Versa Deptford Euro 5 Purple
South Tyne 88 • 88A Optare Versa Washington Euro 5 Lilac Purple
Ten 75px 10 • 10A • 10B Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Riverside
Euro 5 Silver
Diamond Go North East bus 4840 Volvo B10BLE Wrightbus Endurance 340 GUP The Diamond livery in Newcastle 25 April 2009.JPG 43 • 44 Mercedes-Benz Citaro Stanley Euro 5 Orange
Loop Go North East bus 5218 Scania L94 Wrightbus Solar NK54 NVO Gateshead Loop livery in Gateshead 5 May 2009.JPG 93 • 94 • 93A • 94A Scania L94UB/Wright Solar Riverside Euro 3 Black
The Orbit Go North East bus 4945 Scania L94 Wrightbus Solar NK51 OLJ The Orbit livery in Gateshead 5 May 2009.JPG 51 • 52 • 51A • 52A Optare Versa Riverside Euro 5 Purple
Red Kite Go North East bus 5242 Scania CN230 Omnicity NK56 KHL The Red Kite livery Metrocentre rally 2009 pic 2.JPG 45 • 46 Scania OmniCity Stanley Euro 4 Red
The Waggonway 28 • 28A Scania L94UB/Wright Solar Chester-le-Street Euro 3 Maroon
Toon Link 11 • 31 • 32 • 47 Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse
Volvo B10BLE/Wright Renown
Riverside Euro 3 Purple
Tynedale Links H1 • H53 • 74 • 683 • 686 • 688 •689 Dennis Dart MPD/Plaxton Pointer
Volvo B6BLE/Plaxton Concept 2000
Hexham Euro 3 Yellow
Tynedale Express X84 • X85 Scania L94UB / Wright Solar Hexham Euro 5 Orange
Venture V1 • V2 • V3 • V4 • V5 • V6 • V8 • V9 • 130 • 143 • 704 Optare Solo SR Consett Euro 5 Yellow
Whey Aye Five 0 50 • 50A Scania OmniCity Chester-Le-street Euro 4 Blue
Tyne Tees Express X9/X10 X9 • X10 Volvo B7TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Riverside Euro 3 (B9TL Euro 5) Maroon
Sunderland Connect 700 • 701 Solo SR (Hybrid) Deptford Euro 5 Green
X66 X66 Mercedes-Benz Citaro(Bendy) Riverside Euro 5 Gold
The OK Way 18 Dennis Dart MPD Crook Euro 3 Red/Cream
The Lambton Worm 34 • 34A Optare Versa Chester - Le - street Euro 5 Green
Wear Tees Express X7 Mercedes-Benz Citaro Peterlee Euro 5 Maroon
Nexus Bus All Nexus Contracts Solo SR Saltmeadows, Deptford Euro 5 Red, Grey
Great Park Park and Ride X40, 40A Scania L94UA/Wright Solar Fusion (Bendy) Sunderland Road Euro 3 Blue, Green, Black
Northern Any Route Volvo Plaxton President, Volvo Wright Renown, Volvo Wright Cadet, Dennis Trident East Lancs Lolyne, Dennis Trident Plaxton President Any Depots Euro 2, Euro 3 Red


East Lancs Lolyne bodied Dennis Trident 2 in Coaster livery in April 2009
Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart in Wallsend Links livery in May 2009
Northern Counties Palatine II bodied Volvo Olympian in Yellow Buses livery in May 2009

Single fares can be purchased from the bus driver on all services, with the price usually incrementing with increasing distance travelled. In localised areas, a single flat fare may be offered; or alternatively, a two-tier fare system with one flat fare for short journeys and another flat fare for longer journeys. Such tickets are designed to reduce passenger confusion and speed up boarding times. Return tickets offer a considerable discount from the price of two single tickets, and such tickets are marketed by Go North East as "Cheap Day Returns".[15]

If a passenger will make multiple journeys on the same day, it is often cheaper to purchase a Day Ticket. Some branded services listed above have their own range of day and weekly tickets for exclusive use on that particular brand. Young people between the ages of 18 and 22 in full-time education can apply for a GetAround ID card to purchase tickets which allow unlimited travel at a fraction of the normal price.[16]


Go North East have divided their operating network into seven colour-coded zones, and this is known as Buzzfare. The zones are:

  • Orange Zone
    - covering Blyth, Ashington, Bedlington, Matfen, Corbridge, Hexham and Allendale Town.
  • Blue Zone
    - covering Cramlington, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields, Wallsend, Cobalt Business Park, Killingworth, Newcastle Airport and Newcastle City Centre.
  • Purple Zone
    - covering Newcastle City Centre, Gateshead, MetroCentre, Crawcrook, Team Valley, High Spen, Washington and Heworth.
  • Red Zone
    - covering South Shields, Jarrow, Hebburn, Boldon, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, Doxford International, Houghton-le-Spring, Seaham, Dalton Park, Murton and Hetton-le-Hole.
  • Green Zone
    - covering Chester-le-Street, Stanley, Beamish, Sacriston, Durham, Belmont and Great Lumley.
  • Cherry Zone
    - covering Consett, Leadgate, Castleside, Chopwell, Prudhoe, Stocksfield and Wylam.
  • Turquoise Zone
    - covering Peterlee, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Norton, Darlington, Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland.

Buzzfare tickets can be bought daily, weekly, monthly and annually and can be purchased online, by telephone. Customers can choose to buy tickets for one zone, for two zones, or a three zone+ ticket allowing unlimited travel across the entire Go North East network.

The Key[edit]

In June 2010, Go North East pioneered the use of Smartcard ticketing for its bus services called the key. A trial was carried out on Prince Bishops service 20 between Sunderland and Durham to test the equipment.

The key smartcard was launched across all of Go North East in May 2011 with ticket available to buy online, on the bus, over the telephone and from Go North East's own travel centres.


As at July 2014, the fleet consisted of 691 buses and coaches.[17]


Go North East's fleet livery was for many years red, light blue and yellow. However many buses have been painted in route or brand specific liveries, resulting in a multi-coloured fleet. Buses not route branded are now all over red carrying the "Northern" sub brand. Coaches operating services under contract to National Express are painted in the client's livery.

Current vehicle types[edit]

Former vehicle types[edit]

Preserved MCW Metrobus in May 2009

Go North East acquisitions[edit]

  • Gypsy Queen
  • The Venture Transport Company
  • Stanley Taxis (Local bus services only)
  • The Langley Park Motor Company
  • Tyne & Wear Omnibus Company Limited (Immediately sold to Busways)[18]
  • Carryden Limited (Local bus services only)
  • Low Fell Coaches
  • Atkinsons
  • Shaws Coaches
  • Star Travel (Local bus services only)
  • JH Hammell (Diamond)
  • OK Motor Services in March 1995[19][20]
  • Derwent Coaches (Local bus services only)
  • Armstrongs of Ebchester
  • Northumbria Coaches (Local bus services only)
  • Redby Bus & Coach (Local bus services only)
  • Calvary Coaches (Local bus services only)


  1. ^ NBC sale at half way point Commercial Motor 16 May 1987 page 21
  2. ^ Chris Moyes obituary The Times 18 September 2006
  3. ^ History Timeline Go-Ahead Group
  4. ^ Gypsy taken over Commercial Motor 11 January 1990 page 29
  5. ^ Go-Ahead annual report 30 June 1994 Go-Ahead Group plc
  6. ^ Go-Ahead annual report 29 June 1996 Go-Ahead Group plc
  7. ^ a b c Depot Locations Go North East
  8. ^ Companies House extract company no 2057284 Go North East Limited formerly Go Gateshead Limited
  9. ^ a b Anticipated acquisition by Go Ahead North East Limited of the bus operations of Arriva Northumbria Limited in Hexham, Nortumnberland Office of Fair Trading 26 May 2010
  10. ^ Companies House extract company no 132492 Go Northern Limited formerly The Northern General Transport Company Limited
  11. ^ Arriva plans Bishop Auckland take over Bus & Coach Professonal 30 January 2006
  12. ^ National Express Coach Handbook - 8th Edition. British Bus Publishing. 2012. ISBN 978-1-904875-78-9. 
  13. ^ Go North East Night Buses
  14. ^ Go North East Branded Routes
  15. ^ Single and Cheap Day Returns
  16. ^ GetAround
  17. ^ Go North East - Fleet Allocation Go North East
  18. ^ Companies House extract company no 2813677 Tyne & Wear Omnibus Company Limited
  19. ^ Companies House extract company no 626949 OK Motor Services Limited
  20. ^ The Go-Ahead Group Plc and OK Motor Services Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 1996

External links[edit]

Media related to Go North East at Wikimedia Commons