Young people aged 18 and under will pay only £1 for single trips on the Tyne and Wear Metro following the proposed introduction of a new Pop Pay As You Go smartcard - Pop blue.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, is to launch the Pop blue card from Tuesday 2 January to allow people18 and under to pay £1 for a single trip.
The new Pop blue scheme, and the rest of the 2018 Metro fares, were agreed today (Tuesday 21 November) at a meeting of the North East Combined Authority Leadership Board.
To make travelling by Metro even more affordable young people using a Pop blue card will only ever pay for a maximum of two Metro trips on any single day. A £2 daily price cap will apply to Metro travel and no further charge will be applied for a third, fourth, or even fifth trip.
The Pop blue smartcard can also be used to pay for local bus travel, buying the applicable young person’s fare set by the bus company. The daily price cap will not apply to bus travel.
Pop blue is a major step forward for young people travelling on Metro and is a direct response to feedback from schools, colleges, and from young people themselves.
Pop blue will be available online from www.nexus.org.uk and from Nexus Travel Shops from January 2.
Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “The North East Combined Authority challenged us to improve the offer for young people, and they have now agreed that we can introduce Pop blue, which will make it much easier and more affordable for young people aged 18 and under to travel on the Metro.
“It’s a really simple scheme. Young people can top up their Pop blue card online or at a ticket machine, and as they travel on Metro they will be charged £1 for a single trip and a maximum of £2 for the whole day. This is on top of our existing range of fares for children, young people and students which are still available.
“Metro is a publicly owned system that does not make a profit, so we are going to re-invest the extra income we earn from this year’s fare review in a cheaper travel offer for young people.”
He added: “Metro will continue to offer affordable travel around the area in 2018.
“Although there will be a modest general fares increase in line with normal practice, anyone who switches to adult Pop Pay As You Go will make bigger savings than ever before compared to paying for paper tickets, and we have kept price increases for season ticket holders to a minimum. We are also keeping the price of the annual Gold Card at £12 for the year.”
Adult Metro customers who use Pop Pay As You Go to travel on Metro will get bigger discounts in 2018.
The Pay As You Go discounts for adults will rise, including a 30p saving on single journeys and a 40p saving on the cost of DaySaver tickets with a Pop Pay As You Go card.
Pop Pay As You Go will remain the cheapest way to pay for single and daily Metro travel in 2018, with prices frozen for the second year in a row.
The Metro Gold Card, the product which allows older and disabled people off-peak Metro travel for one off yearly payment, will remain £12, while the removal of the off-peak restriction for July and August is to be made a permanent feature of the product.
The Metro fares for 2018 are set to include:
• A one zone single will go up from £1.70 to £1.80; two zone single is up from £2.60 to £2.70; all zone single is up from £3.30 to £3.40.
• The cost of a one zone adult DaySaver will go up from £2.90 to £3.00; a two zone DaySaver is up from £4.00 to £4.10; an all zone DaySaver is up from £5.00 to £5.10.
• 30p off the cost of single fares and 40p off the cost of a DaySaver for Pop Pay As You Go customers.
• A minimum of a 30% discount versus the equivalent adult fares will continue to be offered to students via the Student MetroSaver.
• A freeze in the price of the Metro child single ticket, and the price of a Metro child day ticket to rise by 10p to £1.30. The ‘CAT’ child all-day fare (available to children in possession of an Under 16 Pop card is proposed to remain at £1.10)
• 16-18 MetroSaver is a season ticket that offers a 60% discount on the cost of travel and remains available to all young people aged 16 to 18 in addition to the new Pop blue offer.
• The one zone weekly MetroSaver is up from £10.50 to £10.80; a two zone weekly is up from £15.50 to £16.00; an all zone weekly is up from £21 to £21.70.
• The one zone four week MetroSaver is up from £36.60 to £37.90; the two zone four weekly is up from £53.80 to £55.70; an all zone four weekly is up from £71.20 to £73.70.
• The price of the one zone annual MetroSaver is up from £405 to £419; the two zone annual is up from £565 to £585; the all zone annual is up from £625 to £647.
• Gold Card to remain £12. All day Metro travel for Gold Card holders during July and August will be adopted as a permanent feature of the scheme.
Pop Pay As You Go allows customers a discount compared to normal single fares on Metro – while a best price guarantee means people will pay less than the price of a DaySaver for the zones they use, no matter how many journeys they make.
Single journeys made with Pop Pay As You Go will cost 30p less than the standard fare, and all day travel will cost 40p less than the equivalent DaySaver price for the zones used.
The smart system keeps track of journeys made, and stops charging once a guaranteed daily price cap has been reached for the zones used.
The 2018 Metro fares package would see fares rise by a weighted average of 3.4%, which is below the 3.6% Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of UK inflation as of July this year. It is the fifth year in a row that the average Metro fare rise has been below the rate of inflation.