Price cap on Tyne and Wear Metro approved for passengers with smartcards
A £2 price limit on journeys on the Tyne and Wear Metro has been given the green light - but only for those who use Pop smartcards.
From 2 January until 31 March 2023, a single fare will cost no more than £2, with all-day travel set at a maximum of £4 - a fare reduction of almost 40%.
The measure has been brought in to help reduce strain on families' finances as the cost of living rises.
The discount will only apply to those paying for their fare via Pop smartcard and not those buying paper tickets on the day of their journey.
However, the discount will only be available to passengers who travel using a pay as you go Pop card - and not to those buying paper tickets.
Nexus said the decision is part of efforts to boost uptake of the pay-as-you-go cards as only around one in five Metro users - excluding those who have season tickets or gold cards - actually use them.
Passengers will have until start of January to sign up.
The £2 cap will also apply to young people who have a Pop 19-21 card, and to those using bus services contracted by Nexus.
It follows an announcement by the government that all bus journeys in England would be capped at £2 between January and March 2023.
One Gateshead councillor raised concerns that those who need the savings most over the winter could be less likely to have easy access to Pop card, which can be ordered online or digitally.
In response, Nexus customer services director Huw Lewis replied that Metro bosses were working with foodbanks and credit unions to give them Pop cards to hand out to help people who do not have access to a computer or smartphone.
North Tyneside deputy mayor Carl Johnson, chairman of the North East Joint Transport Committee's Tyne and Wear sub-committee, hopes the deal could remain in place beyond the March cut-off and that it could possibly be paid for through funding from a new regional devolution deal.
He said: "We really need to encourage it and hopefully we can continue with it. I know it will be a net cost and we will have to fund it, but it is a fantastic offer for now."
Nexus expects that the offer will cost it just over £300,000 over the three months and generate an extra 9,000 journeys on the Metro system.
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