Gold cards now twice the price

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GOING for gold is now a lot pricier for North Tyneside’s elderly and disabled travellers.

Nexus has more than doubled the cost of its annual Metro gold card, bumping it up from £12 to £25.

The cost of child concessionary tickets has been frozen, however.

Revised prices for concessionary Metro travel in 2011 were agreed by Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority last week and brought into force on Tuesday.

Gold cards were introduced in 2006 to offer pensioners and disabled people discounted off-peak travel on Metro for a one-off yearly payment.

Their cost has been frozen at £12 for the last four years, but budgetary pressures meant a price increase was unavoidable this time round.

To soften the blow of the 108 per cent increase, Nexus is extending the gold card so it can also be used on the Shields Ferry from Monday, February, 28 onwards.

The cost of tickets for the North Shields-South Shields ferry will also be increased, at the end of the month, to reduce the level of operating subsidy required to keep it running.

The cost of an adult single ticket for the ferry will go up by 15p from £1.10 to £1.25.

The adult return ticket is to be replaced by a new ticket called a daysaver, allowing unlimited trips on the day of purchase, costing £2.30, 30p more than the old return.

The price of a child single ticket is to remain unchanged at 50p.

An adult concessionary single will go up from 50p to 60p, and a seven-day pass will increase from £8 to £9.50.

Nexus director-general Bernard Garner said: “The price of gold cards has been frozen for the last four years, but this year we have had no choice but to recommend an increase in the cost due to challenging budgetary pressures.”

Child concessionary single tickets for bus and Metro services will stay at 50p, and a child’s all-day ticket will still cost £1.

For those not resident in Tyne and Wear, gold cards will cost £35 for the whole year, or £20 until September and £15 from October to March next year.