Metro strike planned on day of Coldplay gig

Howdon Metro Station.
Howdon Metro Station.
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PASSENGERS could face huge disruption next week as a strike on the Tyne and Wear metro looks likely.

Members of the RMT, ASLEF and Unite unions rejected a 1.3% pay increase and have given notice to DBTW of their members’ intention to strike on Thursday June 7.

If the strike goes ahead there will not be any Metro services running across the Tyne and Wear region that day, the same day Coldplay perform at the Stadium of Light.

Discussions between DB Regio Tyne and Wear (DBTW), which operates the Tyne and Wear Metro on behalf of Nexus, and the three trades unions representing Metro workers are planned to continue next week, with a view to resolving a pay dispute.

Full advice for passengers on the travel information website www.nexus.org.uk and through North East Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 and people are being urged to plan ahead and leave extra time for their journey if the strike goes ahead.

Sharon Kelly, Customer Services Director at DBTW, said: “We are ready to talk to unions any time they want and remain hopeful we can resolve this dispute, because we are keenly aware of the disruption a strike will cause to passengers, the economy and image of the North East if it goes ahead.

“As well as disrupting passengers who use Metro to get to work or out and about during the half term holiday, it will also impact on people attending the Coldplay concert at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Thursday night, who were planning to get there and home again by Metro.

“We want to offer as much notice to passengers and advise them about the potential strike and its effect on services now so they are prepared.

“We are urging everyone to plan ahead and start thinking now about their travel arrangements for Thursday.

“In the case of concert-goers, we urge them to start their journeys as early as possible and perhaps spend a bit of time in Sunderland before the concert to ensure they are there in good time and enjoy the evening. We will do everything we can to minimise the effect a strike has and make sure people are as prepared as possible. We’re very sorry that this strike action will inevitably impact on the region and inconvenience people.”

If strike action goes ahead people should follow the below advice:

There will be no Metro services throughout Thursday, 7 June – people should plan ahead and leave extra time for journeys by bus and other means .

Anyone attending the Coldplay concert at the Stadium of Light is advised to travel as early as possible to Sunderland using alternative means, including local buses and rail services, or by getting dropped off in the city in the afternoon, by a friend or family member.

A fleet of 55 special buses will run after the concert from Stadium of Light to Heworth Interchange and Newcastle City Centre to help people on their journey home. Staff will be on hand to direct people to these buses.

Full details of services available and arrangements for Thursday June 7 can be found at www.nexus.org.uk along with travel planning advice. This is also available from North East Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.

People should keep checking through local media and the website for the latest situation.

In response to the strike Go North East, will run extra buses next Thursday.

Kevin Carr, managing director, said: “We will be providing more than 30 extra buses on our routes that serve Metro corridors.

“These include services between Newcastle and Sunderland, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields and Wallsend.

“The extra capacity should mean that anyone who wants to travel to work, hospital and doctors’ appointments or shopping will be able to do so with us.

“The Metro shutdown could mean that people will be tempted to drive to work. We would urge people to leave the car at home and take the bus next Thursday so that our towns and cities don’t become gridlocked with extra traffic.

“Extra buses will also be provided on routes that serve the Stadium of Light for the Coldplay concert.”

Details will be posted on the Go North East web site and the company’s Facebook page.