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Is £25 too much to pay for the Metro Gold Card?

A FURIOUS city pensioner has vowed to stop using the Metro system after transport bosses more than doubled the cost of a concessionary pass.

Sixty-seven-year Bill Riley was disgusted to learn renewing his Metro Gold Card would cost him £25 – up from the £12 it cost previously.

Bill and wife Lydia live in Cambria Street, South Hylton, just minutes from the village’s Metro station, and use the system a lot – but no more.

“Older people are not going to use the Metro after this – they will just use their free bus passes instead,” said Bill.

Eighty thousand pensioners and disabled people across Tyne and Wear us the Metro Gold Card.

Nexus Director General Bernard Garner said: “The price of Gold Cards has been frozen for the last four years, but this year we have had no choice but to recommend an increase in the cost due to challenging budgetary pressures.

“We are pleased to be retaining the Gold Card scheme at a time when all public bodies are looking to make savings and are examining the costs of what they provide.

“We have also been able to freeze the cost of child concessionary travel for the foreseeable future, which is good news at a time when household budgets are tight.

“The Metro Gold Card still offers excellent value for money and we have extended the validity so that people can use it on the Shields Ferry.

“The price of Gold Card is set as part of a package of measures within the overall Nexus budget, to ensure we maintain frontline services at a time when public funding is under pressure.

Nexus has also introduced greater flexibility in the way people buy Gold Cards this year. As well as an annual Gold Card for £25, people can buy a £15 card valid until the end of September 2011, if they use Metro mostly during the summer months, or want to split the cost of buying a card. A further six months’ travel, from October 2011 to March 2012, is available for £10.