A few months ago I met with Nexus management to talk about the unacceptable service on our Metro.
This was after a growing number of constituents contacted me to complain about the frequent delays caused by faulty trains and power failures.
At the time I was assured the service would improve, but several months later I am still being contacted by people who have been made late for work or missed important appointments because of problems on the Metro.
One man had his pay docked because he could not rely on the Metro to get him to work on time. This is not acceptable.
We fund the Metro through our taxes, but right now we are not getting good value for money.
I was assured earlier this year that improvements were on the way, but many of the same problems continue – delayed trains, broken ticket machines and barriers, and a lack of information for passengers when things go wrong. Things need to improve, and improve quickly.
That’s why I have written to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP and to the North East Combined Authority to put this issue on their agenda.
I will also be meeting with Nexus this week to ask them why progress has been so slow.
For too long our region has lost out when it comes to transport.
Research has shown that just £5 is spent per person each year on transport in the North East, the lowest level in the country.
By contrast, the amount in London is over £2,700 per person.
But while the capital gets big money projects and constant investment, we are made to make do with an outdated network and trains that are long overdue for replacement. Even the big projects that do stretch outside London, like HS2, go nowhere near our part of the country.
As is so often the case, the Government treats the North East like an afterthought.
So I will be holding Nexus to account for their poor service, but I will also be challenging the Government over the raw deal our region gets from Whitehall.
It’s time people in Shields got the transport system they deserve.