A record 2,394 new Pop cards were acquired by Metro passengers in January, as more people recognise they can save money and time with smart card travel.
Nexus, the public body which owns and operates Metro, said the figure was six times higher than the same time last year, boosted by a bigger price discount for Pop users and the introduction of the new Pop Blue card giving teenagers travel for just £1.
Almost 30,000 Pop Pay As You Go cards have now been issued since the product was launched in November 2015, for travel on Metro as well as bus services across North East England, and the Shields Ferry.
Half of all Metro passengers have switched from using cash to pay for travel – choosing smart cards and contactless payment at ticket machines instead.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Metro passengers are turning to Pop cards in record numbers since we introduced a bigger discount for adults and slashed the price for young people aged 16 to 18 at the start of January.
“With a free Pop Pay As You Go card passengers save 40p on normal day fares, and save time at the station by simply touching in to start their journey. You can top up online or at a ticket machine in seconds using contactless payment.
“The new Pop Blue card lets young people travel for £1 single and £2 all day, from age 16 right up to their 19th birthday. Parents appreciate the ease of being able to top up cards online, as well as the huge saving on adult fares while their children are still in full time education or training.
“Our data shows most cardholders are using the Pop Blue card to make at least two journeys a day, right across Metro for just £2, so they are getting unbeatable value.”
Pop Pay As You Go now accounts for 7% of all day ticket travel on Metro, and Nexus expects that proportion to increase with prices frozen in 2018 and the launch of Pop Blue.
Metro became the first rail system outside London to offer the convenience of pay as you go smart travel through the iconic Pop card, which can also be used to buy tickets on bus routes in North East England, including the Durham City park-and-ride, as well as the Shields Ferry.
The adult Pop Pay As You Go card gives Metro passengers a guaranteed 30p saving on single tickets and a 40p saving on Daysaver fares. The smart system automatically calculates the best price with a daily price cap of between £2.60 and £4.70 depending on the number of zones you travel in.
Pop Pay As You Go and Pop Blue cards are free with the first £10 of credit and can be acquired online, click here.
Cards can also be picked up from Nexus Travelshops at Haymarket, Central, Gateshead, Park Lane Interchange in Sunderland, North Shields station and in Fowler Street, South Shields.
Pop Pay As You Go forms a part of investment in smart travel across the region led by NESTI, the North East Smart Ticketing Initiative. NESTI is a partnership of 12 local authorities, the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority and Nexus.