Tyne and Wear Metro customers have responded in record numbers to a unique opportunity to shape the design of a £362m new train fleet – and there is still a few more days to get involved.
More than 20,000 people have engaged with the consultation run by Nexus and Newcastle University’s Open Lab so far, making it by far the biggest the Metro operator has ever seen.
The consultation, among the most far-reaching ever carried out on a new train fleet, gives people the opportunity to shape the final interior design through a special website, interactive webinars and workshops and online polls.
Responses will continue to be collected through www.metrofutures.org.uk until the closing date of Friday,16 October before Nexus considers these in detail with its chosen train builder Stadler.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “I don’t believe anyone has gone this far before in really involving customers in the design of a new train fleet. It is unprecedented for users to be asked their views on so many elements of a new train design, but this £362m fleet is being built specially for Metro, so we took that chance.
“We’re delighted to say that more than 20,000 people have got involved so far, which shows how important Metro is to our everyday lives. There are only a few days of consultation left, so if you haven’t already done so, please go online and have your say. Theses crucial little details can make a huge difference to the passenger experience and we want as much feedback as possible before the design is finalised.”
As part of the Metro Futures programme, Nexus have worked with Newcastle University’s Open Lab team and train builder Stadler to create a website and a series of online events that will allow passengers to explore a virtual model of the train.
Early feedback from the consultation has seen customers ask if the number of seats can be increased, and provide suggestions on the information they want to find on new digital displays, as well as ideas for internal artwork in the 42 new trains due to enter service from 2023.
Andreas Discher, project manager at Stadler, said “We are really pleased to have the opportunity to work directly with passengers on aspects of the train that may seem small, but really can make all the difference in practice. Together with Nexus, we encourage as many people as possible to get involved in this process and help shape the trains that will operate in the region for decades to come.”
Passengers can give their views online:
Explore and comment on the new Metro train interiors at https://metrofutures.org.uk/configure.
Follow some Metro journeys. Step into the shoes of six different Metro passengers and experience the new trains from their points of view. Each journey consists of six video clips with one or more questions after each https://metrofutures.org.uk/journeys.
Three live webinars with a virtual tour of the trains and a question and answer session have already taken place. The questions and answers from those sessions can be found on the Nexus website: https://www.nexus.org.uk/newmetrotrains
Stadler is building 42 new Metro trains for Nexus, which will be delivered up to 2025. They will be responsible for servicing and maintaining these trains for 35 years, underscoring their commitment to the regional economy.
The trains, which will be 15 times more reliable and will cut energy consumption by 30%, will have modern features including charging points, air conditioning. An automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, will dramatically improve accessibility, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers as well as people with pushchairs, luggage or bicycles.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, revealed the new train livery at the live consultation launch on 16 September. The modern and eye-catching yellow paint job with black and pale grey was decided on following input from passengers and employees.