Transport group calls for Metro to be run by Nexus once again

A public transport group says German firm DB Regio's contract to run the Tyne and Wear Metro system should not be renewed.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 8th February 2016, 10:02 am
Updated Monday, 8th February 2016, 1:22 pm
A Metro train.
A Metro train.

The call from Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group comes after the leader of Newcastle City Council and transport lead at the North East Combined Authority Nick Forbes said the firm’s contract should not be renewed in April 2017 following consistently poor performance.

The group says that they would like the Metro to be taken back under control of Nexus.

There have been a number of issues with the system in recent weeks, causing delays for commuters who have often had to use replacement bus services.

Services were suspended last month for three days between Pelaw and Brockley Whins thanks to a power failure.

A statement released by the group said: "Tyne & Wear Public Transport Users Group agree with Councillor Forbes’ call for the contract for operating the Tyne & Wear Metro by DB Regio not to be renewed next year.

"We suggest that, along with the continued application for the necessary government funding to renew the system and the new trains, consideration is given to the Metro being brought back in house, where it will be managed and operated by Nexus, as it was before 2010.

"Travellers attempting to use the service in the last four years have experienced delays and breakdowns on a scale unknown.

"The chaos has seen travellers left on broken down trains without any information or at stations where they have been barraged with wrong or conflicting information.

"This failure - for that is what it is - is also affecting the local economy through missed appointments (lost contracts, jobs etc); missed connections (trains, buses, planes); missed family, school and childcare commitments.

"The range of excuses have been voluminous: leaves on the lines, no drivers, carriage doors etc.

"The Great North Run debacle was a fiasco waiting to happen. It’s not good enough and all of us including DB Regio know this.

"There is a wider economic explanation that lies simply with the fact that private companies are not always the most able to manage a public service operation that is vital infrastructure for this region.

"That is why we are calling on our councillor representatives on the North East Combined Authority to consider taking the Metro back under the control and management of Nexus, as it was before 2010."

Sharon Kelly, managing director at DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “Metro is the fastest growing light rail operator outside London, with passenger numbers on Metro topping 40 million in 2015 – up 13% over the last two years and at their highest since 2011.

"We remain committed to delivering the contract, which is due to end on March 31, 2017, on behalf of Nexus.

"We remain committed to offering the best possible service to our customers until the contract comes to an end."

A Nexus spokesman said: “We are preparing options for the future of the Metro operating concession and a report will go before the leaders of the North East Combined Authority later this year."We have been developing a business case for new trains and have held discussions with ministers and civil servants.

"This already forms part of the North East devolution deal with the Government."