The Tyne and Wear Metro has doubled the number of Metro drivers it can train in a year - the biggest expansion of its driver training programme in its 40 year history.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has increased the annual Metro driver intake from 24 to 48 trainees, a move which came into effect on September 2.
Six Metro driver training courses will now take place per year, instead of three.
Nexus is in the process of selecting new trainee drivers from the 2,346 people who applied earlier this year.
The successful candidates will join a waiting list to enter training courses over the next two years.
Metro Services Director, Chris Carson, said: “This is the biggest expansion of our driver training programme since Metro opened in 1980.
“We have doubled the number of Metro drivers that we can train in a year. This will allow us to draw down greater driver resources and offset issues we have faced due to a higher turnover of staff.
“I know that passengers get frustrated when they see trains taken out of service due to resource issues. We have worked tirelessly to address this. The clear way ahead was to increase the number of drivers that we can train up and this is now happening.
“We were inundated with thousands of applications when we advertised earlier this year and it’s great to see the successful candidates starting their training.”