Nexus have announced the ferry serving North and South Shields won’t operate in the evenings until further notice because of Covid.
The popular ferry is a vital link for those wishing to cross the Tyne serving a-number-of-communities on both sides of the river. Advertised as a frequent and fast service the journey takes just seven minutes in normal conditions.
As the public body operating the ferry, Nexus announced the service will be halted from Sunday January 9 in order to protect the service from the latest wave of Covid-19.
They explained stepping down to a 12-hour timetable was a temporary measure to help it manage its staff resources and maintain the cross-Tyne route, by separating crews and building in more of a contingency should Covid related sickness rates worsen.
As a result, the last crossing from North Shields will be at 6pm on weekdays and on Saturdays, starting from this Sunday, January 9.
Customer Services Director, Huw Lewis, said: “Reducing services is the last thing that we want to do but these are prudent measures to take now so that we can try to protect the Shields Ferry from further Covid-19 disruption.
“By planning a small reduction in service, we hope to avoid short-notice cancellations if members of the crew fall ill. This way our customers can better know what to expect and plan their journeys with confidence in the weeks ahead.
“This will be kept under review and as the situation eases off, we can look into restoring the evening crossings when the time is right.
“Customers will still be able to use the service as usual during the day and we are not taking off any early morning services.
“The new Shields Ferry timetable will mean the first crossing of the day will still be at 6.45am, Monday to Saturday, but the last crossings will be at 5.45pm, from South Shields., and 6pm from North Shields.”
If Nexus are unable to operate the ferry crossing between North Shields and South Shields because of severe fog, stormy conditions on the river, or if there is a technical issue with the vessels, a replacement bus service will operate instead.
If the crew have to withdraw the ferry from service, they will make an announcement on board and call a local bus firm to provide a replacement bus service.
More information can be found here: www.nexus.org.uk/ferry