Half of all Tyne and Wear Metro passengers no longer use cash to make their journeys.
The switch to credit/debit cards, contactless payments and the Pop smart cards heralds the end of payment with notes and coins on the system, which is used by 38million passengers a year.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, introduced ticket machines that accept bank card payments and smartcards as well as notes and coins at all 60 of its stations in June 2013.
In 2017, there were nine million transactions at Metro ticket machines, and two thirds of these were made using contactless cards which further reduces the time customers spend at machines.
Nexus customer services director Huw Lewis said: “Cashless and contactless payments on Metro are now overtaking the use of notes and coins, as our passengers choose easier and quicker ways to pay for their travel.
“We introduced new ticket machines to give our passengers more choice and flexibility but even we have been surprised at how quickly they have moved away from using notes and coins for even quite small purchases like a £1.50 single ticket. We will continue to provide the option of cash payment at machines because some people still want to use notes and coins, but we do save from having less cash flowing through and stored in ticket machines and spending less time handling it.”
“I would encourage people to save time and money by getting a free Pop Pay as You Go, or just save time by using a contactless card to pay. Either way you never need cash to travel on Metro again.”
Credit/debit cards now account for 56 per cent of revenue from Metro ticket machines and had grown to 48 per cent of all transactions by December 2017. Sixty six per cent of these transactions are by people using contactless cards; 94 per cent of students use credit/debit cards to pay for Metro travel; 75 per cent of Metrosaver weekly, four-weekly and annual season tickets are bought with cards; and 59 per cent of older and disabled people buying the £12 annual Metro Gold Card use credit/debit cards rather than cash.