Wear-Tyne commuters facing unacceptable fares rise


Wear-Tyne commuters facing ‘unacceptable’ rise in Metro fares

key_HodsonMetro.JPG

 

 

Pic: Niall Hodson at Millfield Metro station

 

Campaigners are calling for a freeze in Metro fares for commuters between Sunderland and Newcastle after claims they are being used as a cash cow to subsidise price cuts for other travellers on the network.

 

As commuters head back to work today (4th January) those who buy an annual travelcard between Sunderland and Newcastle are being charged an inflation-busting 11.7% increase in the cost of their tickets.

 

Councillors in charge of Tyne and Wear’s transport approved an average ticket price increase of 0.4% back in November. The increases came into force on 2nd January.

 

However, whilst the cost of most Tyne and Wear Metro, bus, rail and Shields ferry tickets have been frozen or cut, those who travel through all three Metro zones every day are facing a huge increase in the price of their tickets.

 

It means people commuting to Newcastle from Sunderland, South Shields and Whitley Bay (all in Metro Zone C) face a bigger increase in the cost of their tickets compared to those travelling from Newcastle and Gateshead’s suburbs.

 

For example, those who buy a yearly MetroSaver ticket and travel to Newcastle from stations within Zone A will see the price reduced by £35 to £415, a 7.8% decrease from 2015.

 

In contrast, an annual MetroSaver travelcard between Sunderland and Newcastle (Zones A, B & C) now costs £575 – up from £515 last year, an 11.7% increase.

 

Wearside Liberal Democrats are calling for the North East Combined Authority to cut the cost of monthly and yearly MetroSaver travel passes for commuters from Sunderland to Newcastle.

 

Millfield and Thornholme Lib Dem campaigner Niall Hodson commented:

 

“Labour councillors in charge of the North East Combined Authority who approved these fare increases are using commuters from Sunderland as a cash cow by hitting them with a huge ticket price increase, whilst passengers travelling to Newcastle City Centre from places in Zone A like Gateshead, Walkergate and South Gosforth have had their ticket prices cut.”

 

“It is completely unfair that as most ticket prices have been frozen or cut, commuters between Sunderland and Newcastle are paying are paying nearly 12% more for their yearly travelcards compared to last year.

 

“This is a real kick in the teeth for passengers who are paying more but who still have to put up with crowded trains and regular delays. That’s why we are demanding that commuters from Sunderland to Newcastle have their ticket prices cut, to bring them in line with other Metro passengers.”

 

Sunderland’s Lib Dems have also criticised the ‘POP’ Pay As You Go payment card. 

 

Whilst Nexus claim that the card – similar to Oyster cards used in London - will benefit travellers by providing discounts compared to cash fares, it is not yet accepted on buses in Sunderland.

 

Stephen O’Brien - Lib Dem campaigner for Pennywell and South Hylton – said:

 

“For casual Metro users the new Pop Pay As You Go fares are marginally cheaper, offering 10p discounts for single journeys and 20p discounts for a return. Sadly however, if you need to get both a bus and the metro, Pop cards aren’t accepted on buses in Sunderland.

 

“It seems that the North East Transport Committee – comprised entirely of Labour councillors – together with Newcastle-based Nexus are once again providing improvements to public transport in County Durham, Tyneside and Northumberland whilst letting down the people of Sunderland.”

 

 

 

 

Notes to editors:

 

 

 

Price increases for 4-weekly and annual MetroSaver travelcards are as follows:

 

4-weekly MetroSaver

2015 cost

2016 cost

% increase

One zone

£38

£36

-5.3%

Two zones

£53.30

£53

-0.6%

Three zones

£70.30

£70

-0.4%

Annual MetroSaver

 

 

 

One zones

£450

£415

-7.8%

Two zones

£482.50

£535

10.9%

Three zones

£515

£575

11.7%

 

Actual and percentage fare increases for all Metro and Tyne & Wear-wide tickets (which came into force on 2nd January 2016) are available on pages 71 – 75 of this document: http://www.northeastca.gov.uk/sites/default/files/minutes_document/TWSC%2024%20November%202015%2C%20Agenda%20Pack.pdf

 

Tyne and Wear transport ticket increases were approved by the North East Combined Authority’s Transport North East (Tyne and Wear) Sub-Committee on 24th November 2015.

 

The committee which approved fare increases was comprised of: 

  • Cllr Michael Mordey (Sunderland City Council, Labour – Hendon Ward)
  • Cllr John McElroy (Gateshead Council, Labour – Chowdene Ward)
  • Cllr Joyce McCarty (Newcastle City Council, Labour – Wingrove Ward)
  • Cllr Gladys Hobson (South Tyneside, Labour – West Park Ward)
  • Cllr John Harrison (North Tyneside – Labour, Howdon Ward)

 

The list of bus services that accept Pop Pay As You Go payments cards is available here:http://www.nexus.org.uk/pop/payg/buses . None serve Wearside.


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