What’s Junior blue?
Junior blue is the smart new way for young people aged 15 and under to pay for public transport in North East England.
Simply top up your Junior blue card and use it to pay for your journeys as you make them.
Where can I get a Junior blue card?
Get your Junior blue card online here. The card itself is free but must be purchased with a £10 balance.
Where can I use my Junior blue card?
You can use Junior blue on Metro, on almost all buses in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley, and on the Shields Ferry. Junior blue works differently on Metro, bus and ferry:
- On Metro - pay for your trip by touching in at the Metro station validator or gate at the start of your journey and touching out at the end.
- On buses - pay for commercial single, return and day tickets from the driver using your Junior blue balance.
- On the Shields Ferry – pay for a Child Single or a Metro Child Day ticket using your Junior blue balance.
And all with no need to find or carry cash!
You can use your Junior blue card to pay for commercial child fares. You can't use your Junior blue card to pay for concessionary child tickets, which are concessionary single or Child All-day Tickets (CATS).
How do I top up my Junior blue card?
Top up at nexus.org.uk and load your purchase onto your card at a Metro station validator, gate or ticket machine 48 hours after you buy it. Top ups will often be available the next day, but we cannot guarantee this. You can also load your purchase onto your card on Durham City Park and Ride, selected bus services (see 'Using Junior blue on buses') or the Shields Ferry.
Or top up at Metro station ticket machines.
How do I check my Junior blue balance?
You can check your balance quickly and easily:
- online at nexus.org.uk (it can take up to 48 hours for this to be up to date)
- by using the Pop card checker app (visit Google Play and search for Pop card checker)
- at any Metro station ticket machine
- on your bus or ferry ticket when you pay using your Junior blue balance
- on the Metro station gate or validator every time you touch out
What if my Junior blue card has a negative balance?
On buses and the Shields Ferry, you can continue to travel until your balance is – £3.50.
On Metro, you can’t start a journey if your Junior blue card has a negative balance (ie less than zero), so you need to top up your Junior blue card balance or find another way to pay for your journey.
If your card is in credit when you touch in at a Metro station, Metro will give you one last trip to make sure you can get to where you need to be, even if making another journey will take your card into a negative balance. Your card then can’t be used again until you top it up.
What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?
We can block it so that nobody else can use it, and transfer any remaining balance back into your account ready for you to load onto a new Junior blue card.
What happens to my Junior blue card when I turn 16?
Once you reach 16 you won’t be able to use your Junior card. You’ll need to use your balance before your 16th birthday. Don’t worry, we’ll email you to remind you.
If you’ve got any queries:
- check the help pages, FAQs and how to guides at nexus.org.uk
- ask staff at Metro stations, or the bus driver or ferry operator
- get in touch via nexus.org.uk/contactus
- call 0191 20 20 747
Using Junior blue on buses
How does Junior blue work on buses?
On buses, you use the balance on your Junior blue card to pay for your normal commercial single, return or day ticket from the driver.
Simply tell the bus driver which ticket you want to buy using the balance on your Junior blue card, then touch your Junior blue card onto the reader on the ticket machine. Take your ticket from the machine as normal. The cost of the ticket will be deducted from your Junior blue balance. Your new balance will be printed on your ticket.
Please note that, unlike on Metro, there is no daily price cap for journeys on buses.
You may be asked to prove how old you are when you travel.
Which buses can I use Junior blue on?
You can use your Junior blue card to buy single, return or day tickets on all Arriva, Go North East and Stagecoach bus services right across the North East.
You can also use your Junior blue card on the services listed below - and you can load the top up you've bought from nexus.org.uk onto your Junior blue card on them too. Top ups should be available within 24 hours, but we recommend you allow 48 hours after purchase before you load it onto your card.
- Scarlet Band - Durham City Park and Ride
- Local Link - all Local Link services in Redcar and Cleveland
Using Junior blue on Metro
How does Junior blue work on Metro?
On Metro you just need to touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end. You do this by touching your Junior blue card onto the reader on the yellow Metro station validator or the orange card reader on the Metro station gates – even if they’re open.
If you don't do this, you won't have a validated smartcard and you could be issued with a Penalty Fare Notice.
When you touch in at the start of your journey, Metro deducts the cost of a Junior blue fare from your Junior blue balance. You must then touch out to complete your journey. If you make a second journey on the same day, you'll be charged another single fare, and will reach the daily price cap. You must continue to touch in and out for any additional journeys, so that your Junior blue card is validated - but you won't be charged for any more journeys once you've reached the daily price cap
Please note that, unlike on buses and the Shields Ferry, you can't use your Junior blue card to buy tickets from Metro station ticket machines.
How much does it cost?
You can travel as many times as you like in a day.
Your card is charged each time you travel until you reach the daily price cap. You’ll never pay more than the daily price cap, as long as you touch in and out.
See the current Metro Junior blue fares at nexus.org.uk/metro.
What happens if I can't touch in or out?
If you can't touch in or out, your journey will be incomplete and you may be charged a maximum fare.
You should make your journey as planned, and touch in or out where you can.
You should then log into your account and follow the instructions to 'close your journey'.
What happens if I forget to touch in or out?
If you don’t touch in or out, your journey will be incomplete and you may be charged a maximum fare.
Because we don’t know where you either started or ended your journey, we are unable to calculate the cheapest fare, so we deduct a maximum fare of up to the cost of an all zone single Junior blue fare from your balance for that journey.
If you forget to touch in or out, log into your online account and follow the instructions to ‘close your journey’. You can only ask us to close your journey once a calendar month, so remember to touch in and out.
Will I need to prove how old I am when I travel?
You may be asked for proof of age when travelling on Metro or the Shields Ferry with a Junior blue card; here's what we'll accept as ID:
• ID card with the PASS hologram
• Under 16 Pop card (can be expired)
• Passport or birth certificate (can be a photo)
Using Junior blue on the Shields Ferry
How does Junior blue work on the ferry?
Just tell the ferry operator which ticket you want to buy, and then touch your Junior blue card on to the reader on the ticket machine. Take your ticket from the machine as normal. The cost of the ticket will be deducted from your Junior blue balance. Your new balance will be printed on your ticket.
Please note that, unlike on Metro, there is no daily price cap for journeys on the Shields Ferry.
How much does it cost?
Pay for a Child Single or a Metro Child Day ticket using your Junior blue balance. See the current Ferry Junior blue fares here