Students and young people are set to be offered a 30% discount on every Metro journey with a new smartcard that could launch this month. Tyne and Wear Metro chiefs have revealed plans to introduce a new pay as you go Pop card for passengers aged 19 to 21. Transport bosses say that the number of younger people using the rail network was in decline even before the Covid pandemic dealt a huge blow to its services and hope that the new offer will help attract more users back onto trains.
Go here for the very latest live traffic and travel news and North East updates If approved by councillors next week, the 'Pop 19-21' card could be introduced as early as this month to coincide with students returning for the new academic year. Customer services director at Metro operator Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: "We are always looking to provide the best possible value for our customers.
"We were talking to students and young people before the pandemic about what kind of products made them more likely to travel on public transport. "They want value and flexibility, which is why we are introducing a new Pay As You Go discount for 19 to 21 year-olds. "We plan to introduce the product this autumn, subject to approval, to coincide with universities and colleges returning.
"This builds on our already hugely popular take the kids for free offer as we seek to ensure that people right across the communities we serve have access to affordable travel." A 30% discount would mean a reduction in an all zone daily ticket on a normal adult pay as you go card from GBP4.85 to GBP3.40. University and college students can currently get some discounts on Metro travel, but only on monthly or annual season tickets.
A report to the North East Joint Transport Committee's Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee says that the existing offer is "inflexible", excludes apprentices or young people in work, and requires hefty up-front purchases that people on low wages or student loans could struggle to make. The committee will be asked to give plans for 'Pop 19-21' the green light at a meeting next Thursday, September 9. Nexus chiefs hope that the new card could generate GBP256,000 in extra annual ticket revenue, though around GBP120,000 could be lost due to existing passengers switching to the cheaper product.
The Metro already offers a similar 'Pop Blue' card for the 16-18 market and has recently made journeys free for under-11s travelling with an adult.
Plans are expected to be announced in November for another new ticket offer aimed at part-time workers.