Tens of thousands of Metro Gold Card holders will switch to smart travel as they renew their annual passes this month.
Gold Card, which allows off-peak travel for older and disabled people, is now being sold as a ‘smart’ ticket by Nexus, added electronically to customers’ concessionary bus passes.
That means people who buy Metro Gold Card now only need a single smart card for all local bus, Metro and ferry travel in North East England.
Tobyn Hughes, Director of Customer Services for Nexus, said: “Metro Gold Card is now being sold electronically onto concessionary travel cards. This will make it easier for older and disabled customers to transfer between bus and Metro services with no need to carry two different passes.
“Metro Gold Card customers will use a single smartcard to board buses and to pass through the new automatic ticket gates at key Metro stations when they are activated later in the year.”
Metro Gold Card offers holders unlimited travel on Metro and the Shields Ferry for £25 a year - the equivalent of less than 50 pence a week for 240,000 Tyne and Wear residents who have an English National Concessionary Travel card.
It is also on sale for £35 to card holders from other parts of England.
Gold Card is valid at the same times as concessionary travel on buses – plus all day in July and August. It was introduced in 2006 by the Tyne and Wear ITA to extend the principle of unlimited concessionary bus travel to Metro for a single yearly payment.
While most customers will go smart, some whose concessionary travel card expires within the next year will still get their Metro Gold Card as a paper ticket for now.
The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme is a national scheme that allows the holder free off-peak bus travel.
Nexus, using funds from local councils, pays transport operators for cardholders to be carried without charge after 9.30am on weekdays and all day at weekends and bank holidays.