The annual fares review for travel on the Tyne and Wear Metro has been delayed with new fares now being introduced from the start of April 2021 instead of the usual January. The delay has been agreed to allow Nexus to develop and agree a Recovery Plan with the Department for Transport which is set to include an agreed approach to future fare changes.
The proposals for new fares in 2021 will now be hard by Councillors on 19th January with the new fares introduced from 1st April. This will affect not only the Tyne and Wear Metro but also the Shields Ferry.
Martin Kearney, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Changes to Metro and Ferry fares in 2021 are on hold while we take more time to develop a detailed Recovery Plan with the Government. This means that all fares will remain as they are until 1 April next year. Our revenue and patronage have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and since March we have received financial support packages from the Government totalling £33m. It is vital funding which allows us keep Metro running for people who rely on these services. As part of the emergency funding deal we are required to agree a Recovery Plan with the DfT that will strive to improve our financial position at this time crisis. Changes to fares in 2021 will form part of this process. We will keep our customers fully informed about this process and what fares changes are recommended well in advance of April next year.”
The Metro is currently subsidised by an operating grant from Government and Nexus seeks to meet almost all of Metro’s operating cost through a combination of fares revenue and this subsidy. In a normal year a new fares proposal is presented in November following a review but with Nexus and DfT still in discussions about a Recovery Plan, which is a pre-requisite of the funding provided during the pandemic to improve the financial position of Metro, this has been delayed. This plan needs to be agreed by the end of December 2020, after which time a new fares proposal can be produced.
This fare proposal will be informed by projections for likely patronage in the year ahead and will be a major component of the recovery plan.