RESIDENTS across the North-East are being encouraged to use public transport as part of a regionwide travel by bus initiative.

As part of the scheme, passengers will have the chance to meet Father Christmas, who will be out and about on buses across Darlington, the Tees Valley and South Durham over the Christmas period, presenting lucky passengers with stockings full of goodies.

The stockings will include special golden tickets that will give the holders a chance of winning £1,000 in cash.

Santa’s guest appearances are all part of a promotional campaign to encourage more people to travel by bus.

The campaign is run by local bus companies Arriva, Stagecoach and Go North East in partnership with local authorities, the Local Motion project in Darlington and south County Durham, Real Radio and Connect Tees Valley.