Metro fares to increase in 2015

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ADULT passengers will be paying more for their Metro and Ferry journeys next year, transport bosses have announced.

But transport executive Nexus has also confirmed ticket prices will be cut for young people, with fares frozen for pensioners and people with disabilities.

A one-zone adult single Metro ticket will be frozen at £1.80, but two-zone and three-zone singles will go up by 10p, to £2.70 and £3.40 respectively.

The Metro DaySaver will go up by 10p. The one zone DaySaver will cost £2.70, the two zone will cost £3.70 and a three zone will cost £4.60.

The cost of a single ticket on the Shields Ferry would go up by 10p from £1.50 to £1.60. The cost of a Ferry DaySaver would be frozen at £2.60.

Reductions will see the cost of tickets for children frozen, and a reduction in the cost of Metro tickets for 16-18-year-olds through the introduction of a £7.50 weekly ticket.

The price of a four-week ticket will be set at £28, offering unlimited Metro travel for just £1 per day.

There will also be a 30 per cent discount for students compared to the cost of the equivalent adult product.

The cost of Metro Gold Card, which offers off-peak Metro and Shields Ferry travel to pensioners and people with disabilities for an annual one off payment of £12, will remain the same.

Nexus is also introducing one-zone and two-zone Annual MetroSavers for the first time, offering cheaper season tickets to customers making shorter journeys.

In addition, a new product for monthly Metrosaver customers will allow them to pay for their pass in line with their monthly pay dates.

Students would be able to pay for their MetroSavers on a term by term basis.

The annual three zone MetroSaver will cost £515, offering the holder unlimited Metro travel for about £10 per week.

Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, has capped the average fare rise at 2.2 per cent, below the 2.5 per cent Retail Price Index (RPI) rate of inflation in July this year used by the rail industry to benchmark changes.

The new fares, which come in from 2 January, were agreed at a meeting of the North East Combined Authority’s Transport North East (Tyne and Wear) Sub-Committee (TWSC) on Thursday 13 November.

Councillor Frank Lott, chairman of NECA’s Transport North East (Tyne and Wear) Sub-Committee, said: “We have agreed Metro fare changes below the rate of inflation, which is significant for hard-pressed household budgets at this time.

“We were determined to keep any price rises as low as possible while making sure Metro has the funds to meet its operating costs, and we have been able to deliver that.”

“I am also pleased that we have agreed price cuts for young people in the 16-18 age range as well a price freeze for older and disabled people who buy Gold Card.”

Bernard Garner, director general of Nexus, said: “Metro fares offer the best possible value for money, with average increases pegged below inflation for the second year running. Metro remains the cheapest rail or tram system in the country.

“This is helped by growing passenger numbers and the impact of automatic ticket gates, which are making fare evasion tougher and delivering extra revenue.

“Metro’s finances are underpinned by a long-term funding agreement with the Government and we do not now ask local councils to pay a penny towards operating costs. Metro is run as a public service, not for profit, but as costs increase each year we do have to keep our fares under review.”

He added: “Customers told us they wanted more flexible ways to pay, and we have acted on that. They will, as one example, be able to buy annual MetroSavers for specific zones.”