The number of people using the Tyne and Wear Metro has reached its peak for five years, with more than 40 million passengers in 2015.
Passenger numbers have grown by 4.6m– or more than 13 per cent – in the two years since major modernisation work was completed on Metro’s main route through Newcastle, it is reported.
Figures also reveal that there were 1.3m more journeys on the Metro in 2015, compared to the previous calendar year, taking total passenger numbers to just over 40m for the first time since February 2011.
Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, said: “Metro passenger numbers have risen above 40 million for the first time in five years, and that success is about the convenience and value the system offers.
“Nexus has kept fares on Metro low, and through the Pop card we have led the way in smart travel outside London to give people easy and more flexible ways to buy travel. This has all helped to build passenger numbers.”
Councillor John Harrison, chairman of the Combined Authority’s Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee, which oversees Metro, said: “One in every eight passengers using Metro now was not travelling two years ago, thanks to our efforts to keep fares low and roll-out smart ticket travel. Strong growth in Metro passenger numbers is positive news for the local economy, as well as underlining the continued popularity of Metro.
“Although 40 million passengers is a fantastic achievement, we are not complacent and this news makes us even more determined to make sure Metro trains run to timetable.”
Councillor Nick Forbes, regional transport lead for the North East Combined Authority, said: “Metro is a great example of what can be achieved when areas take responsibility for transport infrastructure; it is a success story invented and delivered in the North East.
“It is vital that we build on Metro’s popularity by investing to make sure it can continue to serve the travelling public long into the future. That’s why our devolution proposals to government include significant investment in the Metro to make it even better and allow more passengers to use it in future.”
Nexus is half way through a £350m modernisation programme.
The Metro all-change programme is replacing and renewing vital infrastructure including track, trackbeds, drainage and structures.