Metro 'no longer just for essential trips,' say transport bosses - but passengers urged to follow guidelines
Metro trains are no longer for essential journeys only, North East transport bosses have said.
The rail network is changing its travel advice to say that passengers can now use the Metro “when they need to” for commuting, shopping, and visiting family – though they are urged to strictly follow social distancing rules, wear face coverings, and use other forms of transport if possible.
Passengers were previously told only to use the Metro for essential trips, such as if they could not work from home and could not walk, cycle, or drive instead.
That stance has been relaxed as lockdown restrictions ease with some schools reopening and up to six people allowed to meet outdoors.
Customer services director for Metro operator Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “People can have confidence in using Metro when they need to – for work, for shopping or to visit family members. Safety is our top priority.
“We have measures in place which ensure that we are a Covid-secure network for people to travel on, should they need to make a journey.
“We anticipate that more passengers will start using Metro services over the coming weeks, as the Government starts to ease the lockdown and shops reopen from June 15, and we are ready for that.
“Passengers need to make sure that they follow the guidelines that will help to keep them and other travellers safe.
“This includes following floor and wall markings to maintain social distancing, travelling outside peak periods where possible, wearing a face covering, and considering cycling, walking, or the car as alternative modes of travel.”
Nexus urged people last week to stay two metres away from other Metro passengers to stop coronavirus spreading through carriages, amid reports of some large groups being spotted on trains.
A full train timetable is expected to be gradually reintroduced over the coming weeks to help avoid large queues at stations or overcrowding.
Passenger numbers are increasing slightly but are still around 90% short of normal levels, Nexus confirmed.