METRO passengers are being urged to get on board with a new ticketing system.
Travel bosses hope the new Metro Pop will make it easier for passengers to use public transport in the area.
In the coming months, all MetroSaver customers will need a Pop card to travel on the network as new gates and validators are switched on at key stations.
Yesterday a special Pop Shop was set up at Park Lane, in Sunderland, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the change-over.
Customers were able to apply for their card on the spot, as well as having their photograph taken for free.
Sharon Kelly, director of customer services and operations at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, who operate the Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “It’s an exciting time for transport in the North East as the Pop card revolutionises the way people travel on the Metro.”
The cards are free to apply for and all annual and “four-weekly” customers will have their MetroSaver tickets stored on the cards.
The cards, which can be purchased online, can be read by machines at stations and on Metro trains.
Annual MetroSaver holders will receive an email from Nexus when they need to apply.
Nexus has already issued more than 15,000 cards, with a portal to apply online now up and running at the Nexus website.
Andy Bairstow, head of service delivery at Nexus, said: “Smartcards are set to transform the way in which people use public transport around the North East and we are especially keen to raise awareness of the benefits of having a Pop card with our customers.
“When the Metro ticket gates and validators are switched on in the coming months, MetroSaver customers will need their Pop card to travel on the system and the same card can then be read by machines found at stations and on vehicles.
“The convenience of being able to buy and renew tickets online and via ticket machines, as well as viewing journey statements online, will make travel much easier in the future.”
The new Metro ticket gates are being phased in this year to ensure a “smooth transition”. For more information, visit www.nexus.org.uk/pop.