Metro passenger numbers still 70% down after lockdown eases

Metro passenger numbers have recovered faster than bosses expected, but are still 70% below normal levels.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 3:52 pm
A Metro train.

And although commuters are gradually returning to carriages and stations, there are also concerns they may never reach pre-pandemic levels.

“We’re at about 30% right now,” said John Fenwick, director of Finance and Resources at Metro operator Nexus.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It was 5% at the outset of lockdown, that was impacted by lockdown measures and messages from the government about public transport and working from home.

“The easing of lockdown restrictions on Metro supply have added to our ability to attract customers on a weekly basis.

“I think in terms of some of our earlier projections at the beginning of lockdown, to have got to 30 per cent by the beginning of July was probably better than anyone in the management team was expecting, but it is still a long way to go.”

Mr Fenwick was speaking at a meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee’s Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee.

A report for members of the panel, made up of council chiefs from Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, predicts both passenger numbers and income from fares will remain low for an ‘extended period’.

Even after this the network could see just 80% of its previous traffic.

This has also raised concerns about the region’s post-COVID economic recovery, with each Metro journey estimated to be worth about £8.50 to the wider region.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

How to subscribe to the print edition

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of. Visit, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.