Go North East
Mercedes-Benz Citaro in May 2009
|Service area||County Durham
Tyne and Wear
|Service type||Bus services|
|Fleet||726 (February 2014)|
|Chief executive||Kevin Carr|
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 Gateshead based northern division, known as the Northern General Transport Company. It was the first company of what is now the Go-Ahead Group.
Early expansion saw the acquisition of certain smaller competing bus operators in North East England including Gypsy Queen in 1989 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.
Depots are located at:
- Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead - 'Saltmeadows'
- Rothbury Terrace, Percy Main - 'Percy Main'
- Handy Drive, Gateshead - 'Gateshead Riverside' opened February 2014
- Tyne Green Lane, Hexham - 'Hexham' purchased from Arriva North East in May 2010
South Division operates services from four depots. 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:
- 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'
- 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, some services transferred to Chester-le-Street)
- Unit 7 Jubilee Industrial Estate, Ashington (sold to Arriva North East in May 2010 in exchange for Hexham Depot)
- Hadrian Road, Wallsend, Services merged with Percy Main
- Cromwell Terrace, 'Winlaton' (Merged with Sunderland Road and moved to Gateshead Riverside depot) closed February 2014
- Sunderland Road, Gateshead 'Sunderland Road' (Merged with Winlaton and moved to Gateshead Riverside depot) closed February 2014
National Express Services
- 326 Newcastle to Luton Airport
- 332 Newcastle to Swindon
- 380 Newcastle to Liverpool
- 530 Newcastle to Paignton
- 580 Nerwcastle to Liverpool
- 663 Newcastle to Skegness (summer only)
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.
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 brand 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'.
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.
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 February 2014 Go North East operated a fleet of 726 buses and coaches.
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
- Double deck
- Single deck
Go North East acquisitions
- Gypsy Queen
- The Venture Transport Company
- Stanley Taxis
- The Langley Park Motor Company
- Tyne & Wear Omnibus Company Limited (Immediately sold to Busways)
- Carryden Limited
- Low Fell Coaches
- Shaws Coaches
- Star Travel
- JH Hammell (Diamond)
- OK Motor Services in March 1995
- Derwent Coaches
- Armstrongs of Ebchester
- Northumbria Coaches
- Redby Bus & Coach
- Calvary Coaches
- Chris Moyes obituary The Times 18 September 2006
- History Timeline Go-Ahead Group
- Go-Ahead annual report 30 June 1994 Go-Ahead Group plc
- Go-Ahead annual report 29 June 1996 Go-Ahead Group plc
- Companies House extract company no 2057284 Go North East Limited formerly Go Gateshead Limited
- Companies House extract company no 132492 Go Northern Limited formerly The Northern General Transport Company Limited
- Go North East Depot Locations
- Gateshead Riverside - Go-Ahead North East's new £8.5 million depot open Bus & Coach Buyer 7 February 2014
- 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
- Arriva plans Bishop Auckland take over busandcoach.com 30 January 2006
- National Express Coach Handbook - 8th Edition. British Bus Publishing. 2012. ISBN 978-1-904875-78-9.
- Go North East Night Buses
- Buzzfare Go North East
- The key terms and conditions Go North East
- Go North East - Fleet Allocation Go North East 30 September 2013
- Companies House extract company no 2813677 Tyne & Wear Omnibus Company Limited
- Companies House extract company no 626949 OK Motor Services Limited
- The Go-Ahead Group Plc and OK Motor Services Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 1996
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