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Tyne and Wear Metro

Metro facts
Metro stations
Safety and security on the Metro


The Tyne and Wear Metro is owned and operated by Nexus, the passenger transport executive for Tyne and Wear.

Metro is a modern light railway serving the Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland districts of the North East.

In recognition of its standard of excellence in public service, the Tyne and Wear Metro holds the Government’s Charter Mark, having successfully retained it in 2005.

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Metro facts.

  • Track: 77.5km, 18.5km of which was added for the Sunderland extension.
  • Stations: 59, serving the major residential, retail and employment areas of Tyne and Wear
  • Rolling stock: 90 Metrocars, built by Metro-Cammell in Birmingham
  • Employees: Approx. 1000 - of which 220 are train drivers
  • Operating costs 2002/03: £36.2 million
  • Total income 2002/3: £35.2 million
  • Capital programme: £4.6 million
  • Passenger journeys 2004/05: 36.8 million
  • Operated train kilometres per annum: 4.8 million
  • The first phase of Tyne and Wear Metro, from Haymarket to Tynemouth, opened in August 1980. The remainder was progressively opened in four phases through to 1984. Total cost £284 million (at 1984 prices).
  • August 1980 – Haymarket to Tynemouth (1980/81 patronage figures = 10.3m)
  • May 1981 – South Gosforth to Bankfoot
  • November 1981 – Haymarket to Heworth (1981/82 patronage figures = 27.6m)
  • November 1982 – Tynemouth to St James (1982/83 patronage figures = 40.7m)
  • May 1983 – Heworth to South Shields (1983/84 patronage figures = 49.8m)
  • 1991 – Bank Foot to Airport (1991/92 patronage figures = 40.6m)
  • March 2002 – Sunderland Extension (2003/04 patronage figures = 37.9m)
  • In  1991, a 3.5km extension to Newcastle International Airport was opened at a cost of £12 million.
  • The most recent phase, the extension of the system to Sunderland, was opened in March 2002
  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II formally opened Metro on November 6, 1981
  • The Queen also officially opened Sunderland Metro extension on May 7, 2002

In December 2005 the timetable was reviewed to provide an enhanced service through the central areas of Newcastle and Gateshead, plus a direct link from South Hylton in Sunderland through to Airport. In January 2006 the fares structure was changed, reducing the cost of an annual all-zone travelcard to £399 from £570 and introducing the Hopper concept – making a return ticket for a single zone entitle the purchaser to all day travel.

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Metro stations

Metro stations are located near the major residential and employment areas of Tyne and Wear, allowing tens of thousands of people in the region easy access to quality public transport. Most Metro stations are above ground, although many stations in and around Newcastle city centre are underground, as is Park Lane station in Sunderland.

Many Metro stations have lifts, and all have at least one escalator to take passengers from platform to concourse level. Metro stations in city centre areas often feature Nexus Travelshops, where passengers can pick up travel information and season and discount tickets. And because Nexus acts as an agent for many local and national operators, passengers can also book UK and overseas holidays at Nexus Travelshops.   

Many stations also have retail facilities, which often include newsagents shops and take-away coffee stands. It is even possible to use a bank cash machine at many Metro stations.  Adding retail facilities to stations makes using public transport even more convenient for passengers and allows Nexus to recoup some of the cost to the taxpayer of providing station facilities.     

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Safety and security on the Metro.

Passenger safety is at the heart of everything Metro does and so we ensure that everyone who works on the system, whether they are out on the trains, helping people at stations or working behind the scenes is properly qualified and trained.

Passenger security on the Metro is handled by a combination of Nexus staff and officers from the dedicated Metro unit of Northumbria police, backed up by a CCTV network. Through its in-house security team Nexus works closely with the police Metro to ensure passenger safety and security on the system.  

The most recent innovation in security has been the introduction of Travel Support Officers – trained security staff who patrol the system day and night, working in collaboration with police, other Nexus staff and revenue control teams, our camera operators and Northumbria and British Transport Police. Weekly meetings between these parties are used to discuss current issues and target patrols and security activity effectively.

The Metro has always had a comprehensive CCTV system, but Nexus in 2003/4 installed 550 digital CCTV cameras in an £8.5 million scheme funded by the government to bring the system up to date and extend its scope. The system monitors the whole network at all times, recording and storing footage on computers. The footage the cameras will record has been approved by the police as suitable for use as evidence in court, which means that individuals breaking the law on or near Metro property are very likely to be successfully prosecuted. The system is also accessible from local authority CCTV monitoring rooms, where operators have joint control over the cameras

In October 2004 the whole Metro system became an Alcohol Exclusion Zone. This is a specific by-law allowing police and staff to seize open alcohol containers and eject passengers seen drinking at stations or on trains.

The combined impact of security measures has seen a 25% fall in violent incidents and a 20% fall in criminal damage, comparing the year up to September 2005 with the same period in 2003-4. Tracking surveys of customers for the same period show passengers feel safer on the system, see staff more frequently and see fewer teenage gangs.

Fraud (fare evasion) has fallen consistently for the last 18 months and now stands at 4.9% of journeys. Nexus has a target of reducing this to 3.5% through targeted activity on the system, the increase in the standard penalty fare from £10 to £20 and the pro-active prosecution of fare evaders.

The following staff or associate organisations provide a permanent human presence on the system: 

  • Travel Support Officers Revenue
  • Control Inspectors (contracted out)
  • Interchange managers at six key hubs
  • Nexus Customer Assistants
  • Travelshop staff
  • Drivers
  • Car park attendants at five Park & Ride car parks for security purposes
  • Cleaners/ticket machine staff/maintenance staff, etc
  • Northumbria Police
  • British Transport Police
  • Six Police Community Support Officers in North Tyneside for public transport security
  • CCTV monitoring staff at six CCTV centres (five local authorities and Metro Control).

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