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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 11:34 GMT
Backing for electric bus service
Quaylink bus
The bus service cost almost 8m to launch
A bus service is to continue to get public cash, despite attracting fewer than expected numbers of passengers.

The Quaylink service links the riversides of Newcastle and Gateshead with a fleet of 10 yellow hybrid electric single-deck vehicles.

It cost 8m to set up during the 2005 Tall Ships Race, but is attracting just 11,000 passengers a week.

Newcastle and Gateshead councils say they will continue to pay 153,000 a year in the hope of gaining passengers.

Changes to frequency and routes are now being planned in an effort to get more passengers onto the buses and to trim running costs.

'Quality' service

The service is likely to be extended to busy areas of Byker and fewer buses run in the evenings.

Each vehicle costs about 200,000, has 30 seats and space for 30 standing passengers.

Wendy Taylor, executive member for regeneration and transport with Newcastle City Council, said: "This is a very high quality service, people like it very much, it gives a good image to the area and there is certainly no question of stopping it.

"There are not as many passengers as we would like, but we are confident in time more people will use the service."

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