Nexus have issued a warning that they are only able to guarantee current service levels on the Tyne and Wear Metro, the Shields ferry and those bus routes they operate until 2021 with the continued challenging financial climate they are experiencing seeing their reserves being depleted. A fall in revenue on the Metro of £1.2 million has been exacerbated by a bill for £300,000 on major unplanned overhead line repairs in May and having to spend £500,000 in overtime so far in 2019 because of staff shortages.
The warning was made at a recent meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee where it was said the current situation of using cash from the reserve is unstainable and that they would need more support from central government to protect services in the long-run.
At the meeting John Fenwick, Director of Finance and Resources at Nexus, said: “Reserves are sufficient to protect services in what remains of this year and next year. There is probably a question of how sustainable that is thereafter.”
There have been calls for meaningful discussions between Nexus and local authorities in the region and central government and there has been confirmation that there are negotiations for an increase in government grant funding. Currently, the expected deficit for this year is £4.1million and if this level continues the service level can not be sustained.