Nexus is increasing the cost of Metro Gold Cards from £12 to £25 from Tuesday February 1, but has frozen the cost of child concessionary tickets.
The revised prices for concessionary Metro travel in 2011 were agreed by the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) at a meeting today, Thursday.
Gold Cards were introduced in 2006 by Nexus, the body which sets all Metro fares, to offer pensioners and disabled people discounted off-peak travel on Metro for a one off yearly payment.
The cost of Gold Cards has been frozen at £12 for the last four years, but budgetary pressures have meant that a price increase was unavoidable in 2011. The new price comes into effect from next Tuesday, 1 February.
The full year price still offers Gold Card holders unlimited travel on Metro (after 9.30am weekdays) for just over £2 a month – and Nexus is extending it so it can also be used on the Shields Ferry, from February 28 onwards.
Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “The price of Gold Cards has been frozen for the last four years, but this year we have had no choice but to recommend an increase in the cost due to challenging budgetary pressures.
“We are pleased to be retaining the Gold Card scheme at a time when all public bodies are looking to make savings and are examining the costs of what they provide.
“We have also been able to freeze the cost of child concessionary travel for the foreseeable future, which is good news at a time when household budgets are tight.
“The Metro Gold Card still offers excellent value for money and we have extended the validity so that people can use it on the Shields Ferry.
“The price of Gold Card is set as part of a package of measures within the overall Nexus budget, to ensure we maintain frontline services at a time when public funding is under pressure.
“The rise in the price of Gold Card has nothing to do with the investment Nexus is making to modernise Metro. Money for this vital project comes directly from Government.”
Nexus has confirmed that child concessionary single tickets for bus and Metro should stay at 50p and the Child All Day Ticket (CAT), which offers unlimited travel on all local public transport, remains just £1.
Nexus has also introduced greater flexibility in the way people buy Gold Cards this year. As well as an annual Gold Card for £25 people can buy a £15 card valid until the end of September 2011, if they use Metro mostly during the summer months, or want to split the cost of buying a card. A further six months travel, from October 2011 to March 2012, is available for £10.
For people not resident in Tyne and Wear, Gold Card will cost £35 for the whole year, or £20 until September 2011 and £15 from October 2011 to March 2012.
Gold Cards will this year be sold exclusively through the Nexus Travelshop network. Cards will be on sale from 1 February 2011 valid until either September 2011 or March 2012, depending on which option people choose.