Metro users urged to stay safe after sunny bank holiday weekend sent passenger numbers skyrocketing
Metro riders have been urged “not to be complacent” after the glorious bank holiday sunshine sent passenger levels skyrocketing above pre-Covid levels for the first time since the pandemic hit.
Families flocked to the North East’s parks and beaches over the long weekend to take advantage of the long-awaited warm weather.
And that meant a bumper few days for the Tyne and Wear Metro, which has needed more than £40million worth of Government bailouts to keep trains running during the pandemic crisis due to a drastic reduction in ticket sales.
The network reported 70,000 passenger journeys on Saturday, May 29 – the highest single day figure since March 2020 despite still being well below maximum capacity.
And Sunday’s total of 54,000 was notable as the only time since the first lockdown began that ridership levels have been above normal rates – 18% higher than a typical pre-Covid Sunday, operator Nexus said.
The maximum safe daily capacity of the Metro system under a one metre social distancing rule for passengers in 80,000 journeys.
A Nexus spokesperson said: “It is great to see more customers returning to the Tyne and Wear Metro as normality gradually starts to return.
“The spring bank holiday weekend saw the highest daily number of journeys since lockdown began in March 2020, and for the first time we saw passenger numbers back above pre-covid era levels. This was undoubtedly boosted by the hot weather encouraging more people to get out and about.
“Metro has a vital role to play in the local economy and is a key part of the recovery as the restrictions lift.
“Customers should have the confidence to use public transport. These networks are safe to use and have a range of covid-secure measures in place.
“On Metro these include new signage and queueing systems, extra deep cleaning on a daily basis with disinfectant, the use of a specialist anti-microbial spray to protect high touch surfaces for 28 days, UV light sanitisers on escalators, and hand sanitiser points at key locations.
“Customers are advised to keep the windows open on the trains to allow fresh air into the carriages.”