New city centre arrangements on Newgate Street
New arrangements to ensure bus services can operate smoothly through the city centre have been introduced as part of trial measures on Newgate Street.
The changes mean that only buses and bikes can travel along Newgate Street, with taxis no longer permitted on the section of the road between Gallowgate and Clayton Street.
These arrangements are the same as those on the mid-section of Blackett Street, where only buses and bikes are permitted, and have been introduced to coincide with the weekend closures of Blackett Street during the summer.
As part of these closures, buses will be diverted onto Newgate Street and will use temporary bus stops there, as well as other bus stops in the city centre so passengers can decide which stop to use depending on where they are going.
The changes do not affect taxi ranks as there are no existing ranks on Newgate Street, although there are several nearby, the nearest one being just 90 metres from The Gate on Clayton Street.
Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality at Newcastle City Council, said: “The restrictions we are putting in place, to prevent taxis from using Newgate Street, will enable us to manage the additional bus services using this route and as well as making the area safer for people on foot.
“They will also resolve ongoing issues with taxi drivers queuing on Newgate Street to pick up passengers – although there is no permitted taxi rank there – and performing U-turns in the road, which results in delays for bus services using this route.
“This is something which needs to be addressed, and with the extra weekend bus services on Newgate Street during the Blackett Street closures, we are taking the opportunity now to put these restrictions in place.”
To ensure the arrangements are clear and consistent, and to avoid any confusion for both drivers and passengers, the restrictions will apply throughout the week and not just at weekends.
This will be an experimental measure with a view to it being made permanent in order to support the longer-term aspiration to close Blackett Street.
The measures will be kept under regular review while they are in place to ensure they are effective.