The full Tyne and Wear Metro timetable is set to resume from Sunday 11th April after Nexus confirmed 30 new drivers have now passed the training course and started work. A reduced timetable had been introduced back on 29th November while new drivers were trained but with the six month course now over it will be possible for the full service to be operated again, just in time for the next step in the roadmap to releasing restrictions when non-essential retail will be able top open from 12th April (subject to conditions being met).
The full timetable will see the central area of the network seeing a train every 6 minutes on weekdays with the outer sections of the lines seeing trains every 12 minutes. The peak-time extras will also be reinstated which means that in the morning and evening peaks anyone travelling between Pelaw and Regent Centre/Monkseaton will be able to board a train every 3-6 minutes.
Martin Kearney, Nexus Chief Operating Officer, said: “Metro’s timetable will go back to its full level of service from April 11. There will be more frequent services for people who need to travel, creating more space for social distancing as we gradually emerge from lockdown. This is great news for our customers and I’d like to thank them for their patience over the winter while we operated a slightly reduced level of service on Metro. The issue was caused by the impact of lockdown on our ability to train a record intake of new Metro drivers. The assessment centres we needed to use for the aptitude tests were all closed. That situation has gradually eased off and I’m pleased to see all of the new trainees have passed the course and our now on our roster. We have expanded our driver training school and two more groups are currently undertaking the training course.”
The Metro had their biggest intake of new drivers since 1980 start training last September, and 30 have now fully passed the course allowing them to start working on the network. Nexus had doubled their annual driver trainee intake in September 2019 from 24 to 48 but this was delayed by the start of the Coronavirus pandemic which saw the national assessment centres where drivers have to take aptitude tests close.
- The timetables which will run from Sunday 11th April can be viewed at https://www.nexus.org.uk/metro/timetables-stations