HUNDREDS of parking spaces at Metro stops across the region are being made free of charge for the rest of the summer.
The decision means the 194 spaces at the Stadium of Light will now be free to use until August 31.
In total there will 1,500 parking bays affected and Nexus said it hoped it would serve to encourage sustainable travel, provide greater integration and support the local economy.
It also said that this period of free parking would allow it to evaluate its future strategy for pricing at the park and ride locations.
Sunderland councillor Peter Wood, who has previously spoken out against the charge introduced at the Stadium of Light, welcomed the announcement.
He said: “Before the introduction of the charge the car park was regularly full, but after the introduction of the charge, few cars were parked there, hitting Metro usage and increasing on-street parking in the station’s vicinity.
“This decision is good news as it will encourage people to park and ride. A sensible approach to charging for parking at Metro stations will encourage people to use the Metro and keep cars off the street and roads.
“Until car parks become full they should be free and only then should a modest charge be levied to balance supply with demand and more space found for car parking near to Metro stations.
Director general of Nexus Bernard Garner said: “By making car parks free we hope to deliver a short-term boost to Metro passenger numbers and the local economy.
“It will also let us evaluate the potential demand for these car parks so we can decide a longer-term strategy for the pricing and management of these assets from September onwards.”
Other park and ride sites included in the decision include Callerton Parkway, Bank Foot, Regent Centre, Four Lane Ends and Northumberland Park.