More people are using the Metro system, latest figures have revealed.
The Tyne and Wear Metro has seen the biggest rise in passengers of any light rail transit system in the UK outside of London.
Our customers recognise Metro offers frequent, convenient and good value travelDirector of rail and infrastructure for Nexus, Raymond Johnstone
New figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that in 2014-15 there were 38.1m passenger journeys – a 6.7 per cent increase on the previous year.
It resulted in 3.5m total vehicle miles, a 2.2 per cent increase, and £47.9m total revenue – a 4.4 per cent increase.
Director of rail and infrastructure for Nexus, Raymond Johnstone, said: “The DfT’s latest figures show that the Tyne and Wear Metro has the fastest growing passenger numbers in the country.
“This growth has been matched by growing revenue from ticket sales, which is good news because, while Nexus makes no profit from Metro, we also do not need to ask for a penny from local councils to support running costs in the year ahead.
“Metro remains the most affordable light rail network in the UK. We have kept prices low and this has helped to stimulate rising patronage.
“Our customers recognise Metro offers frequent, convenient and good value travel, while we’re also working hard to drive up performance standards with our concessionaire, DB Regio
“We are also investing £389m in the modernisation of Metro, including refurbished stations and trains, and we are now seeing the benefits of that programme.
“The Metro system is vital for getting people to places of employment, which helps to drive economic growth. The gradually improving economic climate is clearly an important factor.”
Coun Nick Forbes, lead for transport on the North East Combined Authority, said: “The Metro system is the most affordable light rail system of its kind in the country as ticket prices have been kept in line with inflation which is good for the travelling public.
“The additional income raised by increased patronage will be invested back into the service to ensure that it continues to improve its performance.
“The Metro is a very sustainable form of transport removing 15 million car journeys from Tyne and Wear’s roads every year, and I expect passenger experience to improve as the network undergoes its extensive modernisation programme.”
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Good local transport makes it easier for people to get to work and see their family and friends.
“The fact that passenger numbers on tram and light rail are at record levels shows our investment has been worthwhile.
“The improvements we are making to these services are part of our long term economic plan to create a transport system people can rely on, which has the added benefit of creating jobs, growth and opportunity.”