The North East Combined Authority has voted for Nexus to be given TfL-style powers over the buses in Tyne & Wear. The matter now passes to an independent review board.
The county's main commercial bus operators, Stagecoach, Arriva and Go North East, had campaigned tirelessly against the move. They will probably soon have to submit bids to Nexus on a route-by-route basis in order to continue operating in Tyne & Wear.
So what's actually going to change for the passenger? Currently, the bus network, timetables and fares are set by the private bus companies, who are answerable primarily to their shareholders. Nexus may fund additional services to fill in the gaps in that commercial network. This is how buses are run across the UK, with the exception of Greater London and Northern Ireland.
Tyne & Wear's local authorities have now voted to move to a system like that used in Greater London, where a public body accountable to the whole of society decides where the buses should run and sets the timetables and fares. It then franchises out the actual running of each route to a private company, but for passengers it won't matter which company runs which bus.
It's still not quite a done deal yet, but the county's elected representatives have voted unanimously and it'll be a bold review board that chooses to overturn that.
More details in The Journal, Shields Gazette and The Guardian. Nick Forbes, the leader of Newcastle City Council, states his case here.