Facebook fare-dodgers plan protest against ‘extortionate’ Metro fares

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FANS of a Facebook page which tips off Metro users about ticket inspections are planning a protest against the cost of fares.

Checky Watch has attracted more than 11,200 likes after being launched last week to warn commuters about the whereabouts of inspectors on the Tyne and Wear network.

According to the page, a public protest against ticket prices is planned at Monument Metro station in Newcastle on Sunday.

Founders of the protest page said it was a reaction to “extortionate” ticket prices.

It has been condemned by police and Metro bosses for encouraging people to illegally ride the Metro for free.

Northumbria Police Metro Unit Inspector, Dave Gould, said: “It is an offence to travel on the Metro without a ticket and anyone who chooses to do so can be prosecuted.

“We work closely with Metro staff and support ticket inspectors in keeping the trains safe and secure for all passengers.”

Sharon Kelly, director of customer services at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates the Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “This page promotes criminal activity and as a result we expect Facebook to shut it down as they have before with similar pages.”

Checky Watch creators stressed that the purpose of the page is to slash the price of tickets and not to travel for free.

They said: “This page is not promoting criminal activity. We are not telling people to dodge fares, we’re simply advising people on the whereabouts of Metro Inspectors.

“We have lots of people contributing to the page, telling us the location of checkys and congratulating us on the success of the cause.”