Sunderland MP says Metro changes are just ‘first step’ to improvements

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
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The announcement that Nexus plans to take hold of the running of its Metro system once again has been welcomed by city leaders.

In 2011, DB Regio was named Operator of the Year in the Light Rail Awards, a year after it took on the contract.

At that stage, Nexus said the firm had “clearly impressed” the rail industry with its management of trains and stations”.

But in recent months, the system has been hit with a series of operational issues, including problems on last year’s Great North Run day.

Hundreds of passengers were left queuing for hours after the September 13 event, with DB Regio’s “intentional sizable reduction” in train numbers that day, combined with driver shortages, power failures and illness causing overcrowding.

The operator was fined £500,000 in January 2014 for delays on the system.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott, who represents Labour, said: “I welcome the announcement that Nexus will take back control of the contract currently let to DB Regio.

“I hope this is a first step to the improvements and much-needed investment our Metro needs to give passengers the service they deserve.”

Ross Smith, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce said: “Public transport is critical for businesses, for both getting employees into work and customers to their door.

“The Metro plays an important part in this process in the Tyne and Wear area and I hope that future plans will ensure it continues to meet our members’ needs.”