Young people aged 18 and under will pay only £1 for single trips on the Tyne and Wear Metro from today, Tuesday 2 January, following the introduction of an exciting new Pop Pay As You Go smartcard - Pop blue.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has introduced the Pop blue card to make Metro travel more affordable for young people.
Anyone aged 18 and under will only pay £1 for a single trip when they have a Pop blue card, which can easily be topped up online and at Metro ticket machines or at any Nexus Travel Shop.
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.
Pop blue cards are available by clicking here and from Nexus Travel Shops. The card itself is free but must be purchased with a £10 balance on the card.
Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “I’m really pleased to be introducing a new Pay As You Go product for young people. Pop blue will make it cheaper and easier for young people aged 18 and under to travel on 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.
“The North East Combined Authority challenged us to improve the offer for young people and that is what we have delivered.”
North East Combined Authority member and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Joyce McCarty, chaired a task and finish group which worked towards securing the improved fare deal for young people.
Cllr McCarty said: “I welcome the introduction of this product by Nexus, which means more affordable travel for young people who rely on the Metro to get around. I want to encourage more young people to use public transport, so the introduction of their very own pay as you go Pop card is a fantastic idea and I am sure this scheme will prove really popular.
“Young people themselves lobbied hard to get us to look at this, so I am delighted with this response.”
Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for City Services, Councillor Michael Mordey said: “We are committed to promoting more sustainable forms of travel, and encouraging more people to regularly use public transport is very important.
“Making buying a ticket both more affordable and convenient for young people with the ‘Pop’ card is a great way of attracting them on to the Metro system, as they travel to school, college, work or visit friends and family.”
Newcastle Youth Councillor, Dan Clarke, said: “This scheme offers savings on the cost of Metro travel for young people. The savings are massive and they all add up, so it’s absolutely brilliant.
“I’ve been campaigning for the last few years for a scheme which offers cheaper travel for 16, 17 and 18 year-olds. At the moment we have to start paying adult fares while we’re still in full time education. This scheme will make travelling much more affordable. It removes that issue of no longer being able to afford the Metro fares.”
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.
The new Pop blue scheme was agreed at a meeting of the North East Combined Authority Leadership Board on Tuesday 21 November.