Metro fares are set to continue offering savings for workers and hard-pressed families affected by the covid-19 crisis, amid an overall price rise in line with the cost of living.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates Metro, is facing the biggest financial challenge in its 40-year history - but is retaining the discounts customers get through the Pop Pay As You Go product.
It also includes a freeze in the price of both Pop Blue Pay As You Go fares for those aged 18 and under, and commercial child fares for those aged 16 and under, now available for purchase on the newly launched Junior Blue Pay As You Go smartcard.
Older people and people with disabilities get a further freeze on the price of the Gold Card at £12 a year.
A Take The Kids For Free offer which currently applies at weekends will be extended all day, every day, in the Spring, if local restrictions have eased.
Single, day, and season tickets, will go up in order to help meet Metro’s running costs - at a time when ridership has fallen due to ten months of Covid restrictions.
Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, Martin Kearney, said: “We are determined to keep the excellent discounts that we offer through Pop Pay As You Go, despite facing the biggest financial crisis in 40 years of Metro operations due to Covid-19.
“Our Pay As You Go product will help workers and hard-pressed families during difficult these times for North East England. People will still be able to get 45p off the cost of a single journey and 55p off the cost of a day ticket. It is excellent value and is the best way to get the most affordable Metro travel on offer.”
He added: “Other fares do need to go up to help us meet our running costs at a time when we have seen a ridership drop due to Covid restrictions. We have kept these proposed increases as low as we possibly can.
“The Metro is a public service that doesn’t make a profit, so we require Government support to keep it running.
“This year we have required extra financial support and ministers have already allocated £39m for Metro since the start of lockdown. The latest deal will take us through to the end of March of this year.
“Despite this, we have put forward a balanced a package of fares, one that will ensure that we can continue to offer the most affordable fares in the country.”
The proposed Metro and Shields Ferry fares for 2021 were agreed by councillors on the Joint Transport Committee (Tyne and Wear Sub-committee) today, Thursday 14 January.
The new Metro and Shields Ferry fares, which were deferred from January 2, will be effective from Thursday 1 April 2021:
• A one zone single will go up from £2.00 to £2.10; two zone single is up from £2.90 to 3.00; all zone single is up from £3.60 to £3.70. Pop Pay As You Go prices will rise by 10p, retaining a 45p discount compared to a standard single ticket.
• The cost of a one zone adult Day Ticket will go up from £3.20 to £3.30; a two zone Day Ticket is up from £4.30 to £4.40; an all zone Day Ticket us up from £5.30 to £5.40 Pop Pay As You Go prices will rise by 10p, retaining a 55p discount compared to a standard day ticket.
• A total freeze on all tickets for those aged 18 and under, including Pop Blue, season tickets and class passes for schools
• 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 £11.40 to £11.50; a two zone weekly is up from £17.00 to £17.20; an all zone weekly is up from £23.10 to £23.30.
• The one zone four-week Metro Season Ticket is up from £40.30 to £40.70; the two zone four weekly is up from to £59.20 to £59.80; an all zone four weekly is up from £78.30 to £79.10.
• The price of the one zone annual Metro Season Ticket is up from £445.50 to £450; the two-zone annual is up from £622.10 to £628.50; the all zone annual is up from £688 to £695.
• An U16 single is 60p and a child all day ticket is £1.10 when bought on the U16 Pop card are both frozen in price in 2021.
• In October 2020, Nexus introduced a smartcard for children aged under 16 who do not have an Under 16 Pop card, called Junior Blue. Prices on Junior Blue mirror those of the Child commercial single ticket and have been frozen for 2021 at 90p for a single, and £1.40 for the maximum daily dare. The child transfare continues to be offered at TVMs and remains frozen at £1.10 for 2021.
• 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 £1.80 to £1.90; a Ferry day ticket is going up from £3.00 to £3.10; a child ferry single is frozen at 70p; Pop Pay As You go customers see a 45p saving on the cost of a single Shields Ferry trip, and a saving of 55p on the cost of a Ferry day ticket in comparison to the standard ticket price; Pop blue is frozen in price for journeys on the Shields Ferry. A one-week ticket for the Shields Ferry will go up from £10.60 to £10.70; a four-week ferry ticket is down from £37.20 to £37.60.
• Nexus has now appointed Pay by Phone to introduce cashless ticketing at Nexus’ six pay and display car parks on the Metro network (Bank Foot, Callerton Parkway, Four Lane Ends, Northumberland Park, Regent Centre, and Stadium of Light). With the introduction of Pay By Phone, the transaction fee associated with this new service will be passed onto car park customers through an increase, from £1 per day to £1.20 per day.
The Metro fares package for 2021 will see fares rise by an average of 1.6%, in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of inflation as of July 2020 ((1.6%).