Fears have been raised that Labour-run Gateshead, Newcastle and North Tyneside Councils plans to target buses with a charge to enter Newcastle City Centre will lead to higher fares for bus passengers.
Although cars will not be charged, the Labour Leader of Gateshead Council has refused to rule out returning to this in the future saying "we may need to look again at private cars in the future".
The Chairman of the regional bus operators association, NEbus, has said it was “totally unrealistic” to expect bus companies to introduce entire fleets of low-emission vehicles by 2021 to avoid the tolls, and that the plans will “inevitably lead to higher costs, resulting in fare increases and the review of some marginal services”.
Low Fell Councillor Daniel Duggan said "We need to improve air quality, but these latest plans look likely to lead to higher fares for bus passengers. This is not only deeply regressive, but also sends out the wrong message. People should be encouraged to use buses, not penalised. The three Labour councils have had a long time to come up with sensible proposals, but clearly they need to go back to drawing board".
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