Metro Gold Card holders should wait until they need to travel before renewing their card at Metro station ticket machines.
Gold Cards can be bought on the spot and are valid straight away – so passengers should only buy a new one the day they need to make an essential journey.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, has issued the advice to discourage older and disabled people entitle to a Gold card from making unnecessary trips to local stations, or on Metro.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Gold Card holders don’t need to worry about renewing their passes during the lockdown, and they should only do so when they need to make an essential journey for food or medical care.
“We don’t want people making journeys to stations when they don’t need to, as we encourage people to follow Government advice to stay home and protect the NHS during this public health emergency.
“Metro ticket machines are the best place to renew Gold Cards, and when you buy one it is valid straight away, when you need to make an essential journey.
“Please avoid setting out to a Metro station just to renew your Gold Card in advance of any future trips on the system.”
The Metro Gold Card, which can be bought by people who already have a free bus pass, allows unlimited off-peak Metro travel for an annual fee of £12, or £24 for those not resident in Tyne and Wear.
Around 60,000 Gold Card customers usually renew each spring at either ticket machines or Nexus Travelshops.
More people are using ticket machines this year because Travelshops are closed as part of lockdown measures following Government advice.
Nexus continues to advise that during lockdown only key workers and those who have to make an essential journey should be using public transport.
To buy the Gold Card at a Metro ticket machine, free bus pass holders simply need to touch their card against the machine’s orange reader and then press ‘Metro Tickets’. The screen provides step-by-step instructions on what to do next, and the ticket is loaded instantly onto the bus pass smart card.