Metro travel blues for Sunderland fans

Have your say

BLACK Cats’ fans are facing a transport headache ahead of Sunderland’s game against Manchester City tomorrow.

There is no Metro running on New Year’s Day, which will affect supporters who rely on public transport to get to the Stadium of Light.

Bus companies are offering only limited services.

The Premier League match was originally scheduled to take place today but was put back 24 hours after it was selected for Sky TV coverage.

A spokesman for Nexus, which owns the Metro system, said: “Nexus has historically never operated on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

“Our analysis is that there just wouldn’t be enough footfall to justify the costs of running the trains on these particular public holidays.

“The costs could just not be recaptured.

“A major part of this is the fact that most city centre retailers are closed on January 1. This means fewer people travelling.”

“We sympathise with anyone who would like to use Metro to get to football matches, either at St James’s Park or the Stadium of Light, and will be speaking with the clubs before future fixtures are arranged so that they are aware of likely public transport availability.”

A spokesman for Sunderland AFC said the club had no say in the re-scheduling of the fixture.

He said: “Naturally, we fully sympathise with anyone inconvenienced by the absence of public transport services on New Year’s Day, something which traditionally affects both staff and supporters during the festive period.”

Martyn McFadden, editor of independent fanzine A Love Supreme, said: “This kind of thing has happened before and obviously it’s not great for the fans.

“Hopefully it won’t impact on the attendance too much.

“Since football got into bed with Sky TV, I suppose if you dance with the devil you will pay the price.”

Fred Taylor, chairman of the Boldon branch of the Sunderland Supporters’ Association, said: “I understand the problems a lot of supporters will face trying to get to the stadium.

“It’s a difficult situation because it’s not the club’s fault that the fixture was changed, and the bus and train services might have to pay drivers double or triple time to work on a bank holiday.

“There have been New Year’s Day matches in the past and people have made it to the stadium.

“It’s a frustrating situation but I hope people plan ahead, and manage to get to the game.”

Arriva is operating a Sunday bus service, while no Stagecoach buses will run.

Sunderland Football Club is offering a free park-and-ride service between the Enterprise Park and the Stadium of Light before and after the game.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho