Public transport chiefs have confirmed that anyone who purchased a four-week or annual ticket for the Tyne and Wear Metro can claim money back for days when they are no longer travelling.
Train services on the network have been heavily reduced in the past week, with people urged to stay at home during the virus outbreak and only use public transport if it is absolutely essential.
Drugs cost 14 lives in South Tyneside
More than 30 new covid cases in South Tyneside but no more virus-related deaths
Beware of jellyfish - here's what to do if you are stung by one in South Tyneside
'Thousands' may have long Covid in South Tyne
11 destinations you can fly to from Newcastle Airport during half-term holidays
With more than 30 Metro drivers self-isolating and more off sick for other reasons, the timetable has been cut to just one train every 24 minutes.
To claim a refund on season passes, passengers need to fill in a form on the Nexus website – although bosses have warned it will take longer than usual to process because of staff shortages and work from home arrangements.
Huw Lewis, customer services director for Nexus, said: “Our customers are always able to return a part-used four-week or annual season ticket, and claim a refund calculated from the number of days left on the ticket, with a £5 admin fee taken off. This covers all types of Metro and Shields Ferry season tickets, including those for students and young people.
“As we have now closed all our shops on Government advice, and moved our customer relations team to working from homes, it will take longer for customers to get a refund than simply walking up to a counter – we’ve done the best we can for people under difficult circumstances.
“Customers need to go to nexus.org.uk/metro/tickets/ticket-refunds for details and a form to fill out and send to us. We can’t say how long it will take for someone to receive their refund due to the staffing and technical challenges we are overcoming, but we will provide one as soon as we can.
“If someone has a Network One season ticket they need to go to that company’s website, while bus companies in the region have their own products and solutions.”.