Snowdogs and the Great North Run have helped Tyne and Wear Metro reach the shortlist in no less than five categories at this year’s North of England Transport Awards.
Metro, which carries about 40 million passengers a year, is recognised for the quality of its customer service, marketing and the dedication of its staff.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates the urban rail system, and contractor Tolent are also honoured for excellence in project delivery for the £6m refurbishment of Metro’s Central Station in Newcastle.
Cllr Nick Forbes, lead member for transport on the North East Combined Authority, said: “The Tyne and Wear Metro is a vital public transport service used by tens of thousands of people every day.
“It plays a vital role in our economy, getting people to work and school, bringing shoppers into our cities and towns and supporting major cultural and sporting events, such as the Great North Run.
“Passengers quite rightly expect high standards and Metro staff work hard to deliver the high quality services that people expect to see. These award nominations reflect that hard work and the commitment of staff and we wish them every success when the winners are announced.”
Raymond Johnstone, Director of Rail and Infrastructure at Nexus, said: “To be shortlisted for five separate awards is a fitting tribute to the efforts of Metro staff to give people in the North East the best possible travel experience.
“We have set out to put the passenger at the heart of everything we do on Metro and that is being recognised, not just for big events like the Great North Run and Great North Snowdogs, but in the improvements we are seeing every day.”
The full list of awards for which Metro has been nominated is:
• Public Transport Operator of the Year;
• Customer Service Team of the Year for the Great North Run;
• Excellence in Travel Information and Marketing for the Great North Snowdogs charity art trail;
• Frontline Employee of the Year for Metro train driver Janet Morrison, and
• Transport Project of the Year for Metro’s Central Station refurbishment.
Day-to-day performance on Metro has risen to its best for more than five years, backed by customer-focussed initiatives like improved social media, extra train cleaning, defibrillators at stations and ‘baby on board’ badges for mums-to-be.
At the Great North Run hundreds of customer service and engineering staff are deployed to ensure the day goes without a hitch, while 60 extra trains carry more than 85,000 people.
The Great North Snowdogs art trail boosted passenger numbers and revenue for Metro, attracting new family audiences to Metro while helping regional charity St Oswald’s Hospice raise £367,000.
Train driver Janet Morrison sets high personal standards in a demanding role, has dealt calmly with two emergency incidents and been an ambassador for Metro in the local media.
The refurbishment of Metro’s Central Station in Newcastle saw Nexus and Tolent keep facilities open throughout a complicated £6m capital project completed on budget. The new-look station boasts public art and a colour scheme chosen by passengers within a brighter, more accessible environment.
The awards attract dozens of entries from across the air, sea, rail and bus industries in the North of England, including the big cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield Newcastle and Sunderland. Winners will be revealed at a ceremony in Leeds at the end of November.