Plan to use London Underground-style seating on new Metro trains is approved

Artist's impression of how new Metro trains may look
Artist's impression of how new Metro trains may look

London Underground-style seating is set to be used on new Metro trains - despite opposition from councillors in Sunderland.

We reported earlier in the week how the North East Combined Authority’s Transport Committee had recommended plans to introduce “longitudinal seating” on a fleet of new carriages.

A Metro train.

A Metro train.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond confirmed in last week’s Budget that £337million will be invested to replace the 40-year-old trains with a new fleet.

But Coun Michael Mordey, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for city services, said his council was in opposition to the idea, claiming that the layout would result in between up to 25% fewer seats than it offers now.

“Longitudinal seating is ideal for ‘mass transit’ conditions as found in the central areas of very large cities (London is the only UK example),” he said.

“In those conditions journeys tend to be short – no more than 10-15 minutes and it is often more convenient to stand than to find a seat.

“The Metro isn’t ‘mass transit’.”

Despite that opposition, the committee recommended to endorse Nexus’ intention to bring in longitudinal seating in the new fleet of Metrocars at a meeting at Gateshead Civic Centre.

The idea of having longitudinal seating on the Tyne and Wear Metro system proved to be a big talking point among readers on the Echo’s Facebook page.

Rachel Elizabeth Marshall wrote: “Not great for disabled people.

“I have a badge and regularly have to use a stick and still there are times I struggle to get a seat on my way home from Newcastle.

“Fewer seats would be a nightmare!

Gillian May Donkin wrote: “Go for the tube style as we sick to death seeing more and more thinking it’s right to put the feet up on the seat opposite.

Marc Hope added: “Prefer they just improved the service.”