The cost of single and day paper tickets will go up by as much as 9.5% as of April 1 and the price of weekly, monthly, and annual season tickets will rise by around 3%.
However, there is a way for some people to avoid the higher charges – with single and daysaver tickets being frozen for people who use a Pop Pay As You Go (PAYG) smartcard, which will result in savings of up to 85p per trip.
Here is what you need to know about the changes and how to keep your travel costs down.
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How much are Metro ticket prices going up by?
*Single paper ticket prices will rise by 20p – making a one-zone ticket £2.30, a two-zone single £3.20, and an all-zone single £3.90.
*Paper daysaver tickets will increase by 30p – making the new prices £3.60 for one zone, £4.70 for two zones, and £5.70 for three zones.
*The one-zone weekly Metro Season Ticket is up from £11.50 to £11.80; a two-zone weekly is up from £17.20 to £17.60; an all-zone weekly is up from £23.30 to £24.
*The one-zone four-week Metro Season Ticket is up from £40.70 to £41.90; the two-zone from to £59.80 to £61.50; an all zone from £79.10 to £81.30
*The price of the one-zone annual Metro Season Ticket is up from £450 to £462.50; the two-zone annual is up from £628.50 to £646; the all-zone is up from £695 to £715.
*A single ticket on the Shields Ferry is going up from £1.90 to £2.10 and a Ferry day ticket is going up from £3.10 to £3.40.
*A one-week ticket for the Shields Ferry will go up from £10.70 to £11; a four-week ferry ticket is up from £37.60 to £38.20.
How can I keep my ticket fare frozen?
Metro bosses are encouraging commuters to switch from paper tickets and to Pop PAYG cards, on which single and daysaver tickets will stay at 2021 prices – potentially saving up to 85p per journey.
Pop cards are available digitally on Android phones, but not iPhones.
Network operator Nexus says 85% of ticket sales are still paper.
The 19-21 Pop card will be exempt from price hikes, as will anyone who has a season ticket through corporate schemes.
Passengers who buy weekly or monthly passes will not be so lucky.
The Metro Gold Card, giving pensioners and people with disabilities unlimited off-peak Metro travel, will remain frozen at £12 – or £24 for those not resident in Tyne and Wear.
PAYG customers will save 65p on the cost of a single Shields Ferry trip, or 85p for a Ferry day ticket.
Why is this happening?
Annual price hikes on the Metro are nothing new, but this year’s are particularly steep as the network grapples with the impact of Covid-19, with fare revenue is back to just 70% of pre-Covid rates, leaving a budget shortfall of more than £20m this year.
The Government has announced £150m of new support funding to prop up public transport networks in England until October, but it is not clear how much of that cash is coming to the North East.
Nexus’s customer services director, Huw Lewis, added: “We believe this sets the right balance between increasing fares revenue and attracting customers back to Metro.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic began we have required extra financial support from the Government of over £40m.
“Metro is a public service that doesn’t make a profit, so we require Government support alongside the revenue that we get from fares, all of which goes back into keeping Metro running.”