Metro customers need not pay more for the cost of their travel from April 2022 by switching to a Pop Pay As You Go product.
A freeze on the price of adult journeys made by Pop Pay As You Go, as well as a freeze on season tickets bought through corporate schemes, is a key part of plans to drive a recovery in customer numbers using Metro while still increasing overall fares revenue.
Nexus, Metro's operator, said that other fares, including standard season tickets, singles and day tickets, are to rise in order to meet Metro’s running costs as it faces an ongoing financial challenge due to the impact of Covid-19.
Key elements of Nexus’ fares proposal for Metro and the Shields Ferry which come into effect from April 1, 2022:
• A freeze in single and daily price cap prices for customers using a Pop Pay As You Go smart card or new Pop on Android app, increasing the saving on paper tickets by up to 85p.
• A freeze in prices for the new 19-21 Pop card, which offers a 30% discount to young people on adult Pop fares.
• Confirmation the Take The Kids For Free price promise will continue as it is helping increase adult fare revenue.
• A freeze in the prices for Corporate Season Tickets bought through employers to provide more value for commuters travelling less than five days a week.
• A freeze in the price of Gold Card at £12 a year for Tyne and Wear residents and £24 for those living outside the area.
Nexus said other fares need to rise, including standard season tickets and single and day tickets bought from machines, as it seeks to balance the need to increase revenue with providing value which encourages customers to travel more frequently.
Metro is recovering from the impact of the pandemic faster than any other UK transport network, with customers numbers back to 80% of pre-covid figures, but fare revenue is around 70% of previous levels as many commuters are yet to return.
Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said: “Our fares plan mean that customers won’t have to pay more for their Metro travel this year if they switch from paper tickets to Pop, or buy corporate season tickets. We hope this will encourage people to make more frequent journeys, for a combination of leisure travel and commuting.
“There’s a great price incentive to make the switch to smart travel, and it’ll be even easier to use Pay As You Go when it becomes available as an app on android phones. By making travel easy we hope to encourage customers to travel more often with Metro."
He added: “Our overall fares need to go up in order to help us to meet our running costs at a time when Nexus faces enormous financial challenges emerging from the pandemic. We believe this sets the right balance between increasing fares revenue and attracting customers back to Metro.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic began we have required extra financial support from the Government of over £40m. The latest tranche of funding runs out in April and we are talking to ministers about our need for further help beyond that point.
“Metro is a public service that doesn’t make a profit, so we require Government support alongside the revenue that we get from fares, all of which goes back into keeping Metro running.”
Summary of fares changes:
• A one zone single will go up from £2.10 to £2.30; a two-zone single is up from 3.00 to £3.20; an all zone single is up from £3.90.
• The cost of a one zone adult Day Ticket will go up from £3.30 to £3.60; a two zone Day Ticket is up from £4.40 to £4.70; an all-zone Day Ticket us up from £5.40 to £5.70.
• A freeze in the maximum daily fare for Pop Pay As You Go. This will increase the saving on the cost of traveling all day from 55p to 85p.
• A freeze in price for corporate season tickets bought through a scheme run with employers.
• A minimum of a 30% discount versus the equivalent adult fares will continue to be offered to students via the Student Metro Season Ticket.
• The 18 and Under Metro Season Ticket, which offers a 60% discount on the cost of travel, remains available to all young people aged 16 to 18 irrespective of whether they are in full time education or not.
• The one zone weekly Metro Season Ticket is up from £11.50 to £11.80; a two zone weekly is up from £17.20 to £17.60; an all zone weekly is up from £23.30 to £24.
• The one zone four-week Metro Season Ticket is up from £40.70 to £41.90; the two zone four weekly is up from to £59.80 to £61.50; an all zone four weekly is up from £79.10 to £81.30
• The price of the one zone annual Metro Season Ticket is up from £450 to £462.50; the two-zone annual is up from £628.50 to £646; the all zone annual is up from £695 to £715.
• 19-21 Pop card which delivers 30% discounts for those who are starting their careers, apprenticeships, or university degrees, will remain frozen for 2022/23 to match the freeze in adult smart prices.
• The Metro Gold Card, which gives pensioners and people with disabilities, unlimited off-peak Metro travel will remain frozen in price at £12, and £24 for those not resident in Tyne and Wear.
• A single ticket on the Shields Ferry is going up from £1.90 to £2.10; a Ferry day ticket is going up from £3.10 to £3.40; a child ferry single is up from 70p to 80p; Pop Pay As You go customers see a 65p saving on the cost of a single Shields Ferry trip, and a saving of 85p on the cost of a Ferry day ticket in comparison to the standard ticket price; A one-week ticket for the Shields Ferry will go up from £10.70 to £11; a four-week ferry ticket is down from £37.60 to £38.20.