Ticket gates at 13 key stations on the Tyne and Wear Metro have been returned to use with added social distancing measures now in place. When restrictions were first introduced on the network the ticket machines were temporarily left open whilst a detailed assessment into their use took place but which this now complete they have been closed again to ensure that everyone travelling not only has a ticket but also takes a moment to consider whether their journey really is necessary.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “Automatic gatelines at stations help make sure people have a valid ticket and think about whether their journey is essential. As with stations in other big cities and on the London Underground our ticket gates are in use. The safety of our employees is the first thing we think about, because they are key workers themselves doing a vital job to keep Metro going for others making essential journeys. We opened gates temporarily while we made sure our employees could work safely in stations with them in use. We have carried out a detailed assessment, which involved staff and trades unions, and we are happy this is the case. Metro passenger numbers are down to 5% of normal, and the vast majority of those key workers still travelling have smart cards or paper tickets which open gates without staff having to come near them. We have clearly marked lines on the floor so passengers can distance from each other and staff. The few people that have tickets which do not work at gates can show these to a Customer Service Advisor at an open gate, where our employee is able to view these while retaining a two-metre distance. The level of distance would be no less than people experience in shops every day. We are closely following guidance from Public Health England in all aspects of Metro operation, and we have produced detailed advice for staff on keeping healthy at this difficult time while continuing the invaluable job they do.”
Special markings have been placed on the floor at stations with ticket gates to ensure that passengers keep their distance when travelling on the Metro.