MP hits out as bosses of delay-plagued Metro announce rise in passenger numbers

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has criticised Metro bosses for hailing a rise in passenger numbers against the backdrop of continued service delays.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has criticised Metro bosses for hailing a rise in passenger numbers against the backdrop of continued service delays.

4
Have your say

A South Tyneside MP has slammed Metro bosses for hailing five year-high in passenger numbers - as services continue to be plagued by delays.

The number of people using the Metro rose above 40 million last year - more than a million up on the 12 months previous.

But South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck says she finds the timing of the decision to trumpet the figures 'exasperating'.

The Labour politician said: "I find it completely exasperating that Nexus have chosen to herald their increased passenger numbers against a backdrop of repeated failures and delays.

"It would be interesting to know how many people out of this 40 million suffered delays and disruptions to their journeys."

Mrs Lewell-Buck says the rail service can be a 'huge asset' to the region - but has not performance standards have fallen below par for too long.

She added: "When our Metro works well it is a huge asset to our local economy, however in recent years performance has been poor and unacceptable.

"Nexus, DB Regio, Network Rail, the North East Combined Authority and Government all play a part in the Metro, yet not one of them have been able to get a grip on the problem.

"I am meeting the Parliamentary under Secretary of State, Andrew Jones MP at the Department for Transport next week to redress the lack of accountability to passengers and press for much needed investment. “

Responding tto Mrs Lewell-Buck's complaints, a Nexus spokesman said: "Nexus is an accountable public body and, as such, we publish a range of performance data including passenger numbers for Metro.

"All railway operators publish passenger numbers.”

Nexus says the surge in numbers is down to the convenience and value Metro offers, plus the introduction of Pop card smart tickets.

There were 1.3million more journeys on Metro in 2015 compared to the previous year, taking total passenger numbers to just over 40million for the first time since February 2011.

Passenger numbers have grown by 4.6million – more than 13% – in the two years since modernisation work on the main route through Newcastle.

Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus, said: “Nexus has kept fares on Metro low, and through the Pop card we have led the way in smart travel outside London to give people easy and more flexible ways to buy travel.”