Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising Metro, has officially launched its new generation of Metro ticket machines, transforming the way that passengers can access the network.
The new machines are at the heart of a £25m project to update the ticketing system on Metro. Nexus is replacing 225 ticket machines at 60 stations.
Nexus has also printed a guide to using the new ticket machines which is available from Nexus Travel Shops and there is an online tutorial on the Nexus website at www.nexus.org.uk/metro.
The first two new ticket machines have been installed at Palmersville Metro station in North Tyneside, with other stations to follow suit in the coming months.
The new machines can accept credit and debit card payment and notes, as well as coins. They are also enabled to accept smartcard payments.
The project will also see smartcard validators installed at every station and ticket gates at 13 of the busiest stations on the system.
The work forms part of the £385m Metro: all change modernisation programme, which will see the system transformed over the next 11 years, including revamped stations and trains.
Director General of Nexus, Bernard Garner, said: “The new Metro ticket machines deliver the sort of quality passengers should expect from a modern transport system. They will transform the way people use Metro.
“The main benefit is that the new machines accept credit and debit card payments and bank notes. The old ticket machines didn’t do so and this has been a source of frustration for Metro users.
“We are now in the process of installing the new ticket machines at our Metro stations. The new machines are vastly different to the current models and we will have staff at stations to assist people in getting used to them. Information is also now available on the Nexus website.”
Unlike the current Metro ticket machines, which are 30 year-old, the new machines boast touch screen technology.
For the first time passengers can buy weekly Metro tickets directly from the machines up to seven days in advance of using them.
The information screens display in six different languages, which makes the ticket machines more user friendly, especially for the growing number of tourists flocking to the region.
The new machines are enabled to handle smartcard transactions for the new Pop card. Passengers will be able to use the new ticket machines to top up their Pop Cards.
Pop is the name of the new travel smartcard which is being rolled out across Tyne and Wear. The Pop card’s functionality will develop into a full ‘pay as you ride’ option with stored cash balance on cards in 2012.
The new ticket machines are also set up to accept credit and debit card payments via payWave, the contactless method of card payment that involves simply touching the credit/debit card against a sensor. This is an added feature passengers can look forward to in the future.
More than 120 staff who work for DB Regio, which operates Metro stations and trains on behalf of Nexus, have been trained to help passengers use the new machines as more and more of them are installed at Metro stations.