‘Ridiculous’ price hike for Metro pass

Bill Riley is unhappy about the price rise of the Metro Gold card for pensioners.
Bill Riley is unhappy about the price rise of the Metro Gold card for pensioners.
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A FURIOUS city pensioner has vowed to stop using the Metro system after transport bosses more than doubled the cost of a concessionary pass.

Bill Riley, 67, was disgusted when he discovered that his Metro Gold Card would cost him £25 – up from £12.

Bill, who is married to Lydia, of Cambria Street, South Hylton, lives just minutes from the Metro station and says the couple use the Metro system frequently – but no more.

He said: “Older people are not going to use the Metro after this. They will just use their free bus passes instead.

“We go all over the place on the Metro. It is really convenient – from South Hylton it is just seven minutes into town, but if you go on the bus it takes half-an-hour.

“The price rise is just absolutely ridiculous. If this is going to cost people £25, they are just not going to use the Metro.

“I only found about the price rise by rumour. I rang Nexus and they confirmed it. They only passed it on a Thursday and introduced it on a Tuesday.

“It seems indecent taste to me that they have brought it in so quickly.”

Eighty-thousand pensioners and disabled people across Tyne and Wear use the Metro Gold Card.

But Nexus director general Bernard Garner defended the move and said they had “no choice” but to introduce a price rise after a four-year price freeze.

He said: “The price of Gold Cards has been frozen for the last four years, but this year we have had no choice but to recommend an increase in the cost due to challenging budgetary pressures.

“We are pleased to be retaining the Gold Card scheme at a time when all public bodies are looking to make savings and are examining the costs of what they provide.

“We have been able to freeze the cost of child concessionary travel for the foreseeable future, which is good news at a time when household budgets are tight.

“The price of Gold Card is set as part of a package of measures within the overall Nexus budget, to ensure we maintain frontline services at a time when public funding is under pressure.”

Nexus say they have also introduced greater flexibility in the way people can buy Gold Cards.

As well as an annual Gold Card for £25, people can buy a £15 card valid until the end of September 2011, if they use the Metro mostly during the summer months, or want to split the cost of buying a card. A further six months’ travel, from October 2011 to March 2012, is available for £10.

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