Tyne and Wear Metro fares set for major price increase

People wearing masks on the Tyne and Wear Metro Credit: NCJ Media

Tyne and Wear Metro fares are set for a major price increase after operator Nexus announced plans to up its prices from April.

Under new proposals prices could jump by as much as:

There is some relief for travellers with a Pop Pay As You Go (PAYG) smartcard, as its prices will be frozen for all single and daysaver passes.

Nexus chiefs have urged people to switch to the PAYG card - which can be topped up online and at stations - hoping that freezing its prices can help bring Metro patronage closer to pre-Covid levels and cut costs associated with printing tickets.

Chief operating officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said that overall fare prices needed to go up "in order to help us to meet our running costs at a time when Nexus faces enormous financial challenges", but hopes that the smartcard offer will come as some comfort.

He added: "There's a great price incentive to make the switch to smart travel, and it'll be even easier to use PAYG when it becomes available as an app on android phones."

The cost of corporate season tickets is also being kept at its current level, as are prices on the 19-21 Pop card for young people.

There will also be a rare Metro zone boundary change, with the zone B/C boundary moving from Seaburn to East Boldon - meaning it will cost more to travel towards Newcastle from Seaburn, though there would be a reduction in costs for people going towards Sunderland from East Boldon.

Despite passenger numbers having recovered to up to 85% of pre-pandemic rates, Nexus has warned that there is still a "significant gap between customer numbers now and where the Metro needs to be".

The publicly-owned body has needed more than £50m of government bailout money to keep services running during Covid because of its lost revenue, but that emergency support is due to come to an end in April.

Mr Kearney said that local transport chiefs are still "talking to ministers about our need for further help", with fears over major cuts to some services if the government does not perform a U-turn.

He added: "Metro is a public service that doesn't make a profit, so we require government support alongside the revenue that we get from fares, all of which goes back into keeping Metro running."

The proposed fare increases are set to be approved by the North East Joint Transport Committee's Tyne and Wear sub-committee on 13 January.