Back in March 2007, local bus company Go North East embarked on a partnership journey with Cobalt Business Park to create a new bus service to the expanding Business Park from Newcastle, Blyth and Whitley Bay. The “Cobalt Clipper” was initially funded by Highbridge Ltd, the developers of Cobalt Business Park, and as the Business Park has grown and expanded so have the passenger numbers on the bus route to a point where the service is provided without any funding.
The growth has come about with a partnership that has looked at what the customer needs and worked with the businesses to promote the bus service. This has included employing Travel Co-Ordinators who provide a one-stop shop on travelling sustainably and ticket sales for employees on the park. Each new member of staff receives an induction pack which includes bus information and there are regular updates to employees via newsletters. There’s also been a lot of infrastructure work to ensure that the bus stops are in the right place, with shelters provided and bus information available.
Then, there’s also been ticketing innovation which includes a “free zone” where employee’s can travel around the site by bus without charge as well as great value day and weekly tickets which can be bought on smartcards or via a mobile phone.
Mark Ellis, Development Manager for Go North East said “we’re investing almost £3m in state of the art new buses which have more seats as well as the little touches that our customers love, like free Wi-Fi and power sockets to charge your phone. As well as great new buses, we’ve got great value prices too as customers can travel all week for only £12.50 on our Cobalt Clipper routes.”
Lynn Cramman from Cobalt Business Park said “We are delighted with the success of the Cobalt Clipper which has gone from strength to strength since we launched the partnership with Go North East“
“Through listening to our staff and occupiers we are able to implement a new route connecting staff from home to work at times they needed to travel”
Both Cobalt Business Park & Go North East aren’t resting on their laurels though and the partnership will continue to ensure that bus services continue to be promoted to businesses on the park and across North Tyneside. “The work will continue” said Lynn, “as we’re determined to increase the number of staff who travel sustainably to work, either by bus or via car sharing, cycling or walking.”