'˜The service is a joke' - Metro passengers react to new timetable news
Metro passengers in South Tyneside have given a lukewarm reception to plans for a series of new early-morning commuter services.
From February 5, there will be more early-morning trains from South Shields, which Metro bosses say is in response to a change in demand from customers.
This includes two new early morning trains from South Shields – with a first departure at 5.42am and a train every 12 minutes from 6.06am onwards.
There will also be changes to the peak time service between Pelaw and Monkseaton.
But not everybody was impressed by the announcement, with some fearing the changes will have knock-on effects on an already trouble-hit transport network.
Readers took to social media to give their views, with many writing on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
Gemma Mountain said: “They don’t stick to a timetable anyway. The service is a joke.
“I’m more surprised when it’s running without a problem than when they announce there’s an issue.”
Cheryl Reah wrote: “It just means the extra trains will cover all the other trains that go out of service due to faults.
“You’ll still get to and from where you’re going at the same time as you would have done under the old timetable.
“The trains will still be packed. People are leaving earlier for trains because the service has been so unreliable.”
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Leigh Shotton said: “More trains to fail.”
Nexus say the changes will see more early morning trains and a better service at peak times following feedback and passenger counts.
As part of the new timetable, there will also be an earlier first train from Park Lane in Sunderland, departing for the Airport at 5.48am, and five trains an hour from 6.09am onwards.
Passengers can view train times for journeys after Sunday, February 5, on the North East Journey Planner at www.nexus.org.uk.
PDF copies of individual station timetables will be uploaded to the website from January 30.
Raymond Johnstone, director of rail and infrastructure at Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, said: “Nexus is responding to passenger demand for more trains when people need them – in the early morning before the traditional ‘rush hour’ begins.
“We now see more people wanting to travel earlier, so that is where we are providing new train services.
“We are also making changes at peak times to better reflect how commuters use Metro so passengers are more evenly spread during the busiest times.”
The new services are being made possible by withdrawing the least-used peak trains between Monkseaton, Regent Centre and Pelaw – in particular those running between 9am and 9.30am and after 6pm.