artists across Wearside are being urged to get on board a competition to mark the launch of a new travel smartcard.
Travel company Nexus, which owns and manages the Metro train service, is searching for talented youngsters to design a limited-edition version of its new Pop card.
The card, which is currently being rolled out across Tyne and Wear, allows travellers to pay for public transport at machines in stations and on vehicles.
The winning design will be unveiled later this year.
Graham Cleland, from North East art group Real Graffiti, held workshops with youngsters in the region to help promote the Pop Artist competition.
During a live street-art demo, he designed his own Pop card, using spray paint on a giant canvas.
Andy Bairstow, Nexus head of service delivery and a member of the judging panel, said: “We thought it was apt that our passengers of the future got the chance to create their very own limited-edition Pop card designs and adopt smart travel as their own.
“We would like the students to use digital technology in creating their Pop card designs as our smartcard will use the latest technology too.
“By using computers to design their limited-edition Pop card, students will be able to create futuristic, original designs for this future-thinking smartcard.
“I can’t wait to judge the designs submitted, the Pop brand is already very eye-catching and I am looking forward to seeing the creative talents of Tyne and Wear young people in this very unique competition.”
The Pop card forms part of Nexus’ investment of £15m from Government funds in smart ticketing, part of the Metro modernisation programme.
It will include the replacement of 225 ticket machines, the introduction of gates at key stations and “smart” validators across the system.
The Pop Artist competition is divided into three age categories, four to 10, 11-12 and 13-16. Prizes up for grabs include an Apple iTouch.
Free bus transport, worth £350, will also be given to the overall winning school.
To enter, visit www.popcard.org.uk and access the teacher information pack and design template.
No specific theme has been set for the designs.
Entrants over 13 can share their designs at www.facebook.com/nexuspopcard
The closing date for submissions is Friday, March 18.