The automatic ticket gates on the Tyne and Wear Metro are back in operation with a new social distancing system in place.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has placed special markings on floor of each ticket concourse to ensure passengers stay two metres apart as they use the gates.
The gatelines, located at 13 key stations on the Metro system, had been out of use since the start of lockdown while a detailed assessment was carried out so that they could be brought back into use in a way that took account of the need to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Automatic gatelines at stations help make sure people have a valid ticket and think about whether their journey is essential. As with stations in other big cities and on the London Underground our ticket gates are in use.
“The safety of our employees is the first thing we think about, because they are key workers themselves doing a vital job to keep Metro going for others making essential journeys.
“We opened gates temporarily while we made sure our employees could work safely in stations with them in use. We have carried out a detailed assessment, which involved staff and trades unions, and we are happy this is the case.
“Metro passenger numbers are down to 5% of normal, and the vast majority of those key workers still travelling have smart cards or paper tickets which open gates without staff having to come near them. We have clearly marked lines on the floor so passengers can distance from each other and staff.
“The few people that have tickets which do not work at gates can show these to a Customer Service Advisor at an open gate, where our employee is able to view these while retaining a two-metre distance. The level of distance would be no less than people experience in shops every day.
“We are closely following guidance from Public Health England in all aspects of Metro operation, and we have produced detailed advice for staff on keeping healthy at this difficult time while continuing the invaluable job they do.”