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Shall we walk? Nah, lets get the Metro.
Tyne & Wear Metro
Member Name: charby
Tyne & Wear Metro
Advantages: Quick, easy, conveniant.
Disadvantages: No stops near me.
The Metro is, in my opinion, the most conveniant way to travel around Tyne and Wear. It covers a distance of many miles - from Newcastle airport all the way to the coast and the city of Sunderland, stopping on the way in many places including Newcastle and Gateshead.
I personally use the Metro almost every day on my journey to school, as I can get to 3 stations quickly from bus stops and stations in the city centre. I then get the Metro to the Jesmond station, which is conveniantly situated within 3 minutes walking distance of four big schools in the area, as well as several businesses and shops. Because of the Metro, I can get to Newcastle city centre in a minute or two from school, whereas it would take about ten minutes to walk the same distance.
The metro is also convenient for getting to the coast, which I do occasionally, as it takes about 30 minutes from Newcastle. the journey to the airport takes approximately the same time, so if you're going on holiday but don't want to leae your car at the airport or fork out for a taxi (which can be pricey if you live far awa), then you can easily get a metro right into the heart of the airport.
Unlike many underground systems in towns in Britain and elsewhere, the Tyneside Metro has only two lines which are laid out clearly and simply on the map. The green line goes from the Airport to South Shields, going through Newcastle and Gateshead on the way. The yellow line goes from Sunderland (South Hylton) to St James (the football ground in Newcastle, home to Newcastle United), but goes through Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and the coast on the way. This line is actually a bit confusing, because when it comes from Sunderland, it comes through Newcastle city centre from the south, and then it comes through the city centre again after it has been round the coast. However the map shown on Metros and in the stations makes it simple to work out which line you have to take to get to the place you want to get to.
*Tickets and prices*
There are a variety of travel tickets that you can buy that allow you to travel on the Metro, most of which can be bought from the ticket machines in every metro station. You can get a single ticket, a return or a day ticket, which are all fairly self explanatory. You can also get a week or month long pass from Travel centres located throughout the city, which you can get for just Metro, or for bus and metro. I personally get a bus and metro pass, which means I can travel for free on any bus and metro between Newcastle and the village where I live about seven miles away, for £42 a month. Prices for individual journeys on the Metro do vary, depending on what time of day it is and how far you want to go. For example, a single within one zone costs £1.30, but if you wanted to travel within all three zones it could cost a lot more. Personally I would get a pass if you plan on travelling daily or even a few times a week, as then you save money as well as saving time as you don't have to queue. Be sure you get a ticket before travel though, or you could get a fine from the inspector, and get your name up on the 'Named and Shamed' boards.
*Punctuality and Reliability*
Trains are actually fairly regular, coming every five minutes or so at peak periods, and still about every eight minutes during the day. The electronic signs on the platforms make it clear how long you'll have to wait for the next Metro and where it's going to. The trains are rarely late, but if they are then there's normally an announcement explaining why this is.
The locations of the stations is the only thing that I really have a problem is. The nearest Metro to me is about 7 miles away, so I have to get a bus for half an hour or so if I acually want to get to town and therefore a station. I think it would make sense if there was a station at the Metro Centre, since this is a tourist attraction and the biggest shopping centre in Europe (or so I've heard said), and making it easier for people to get here could only improve business for the place. Having said that, there is a big bus station there and a train station, so access to the town isn't too difficult. But I digress.
All in all, I am impressed with the Tyne and Wear Metro system, as it is reliable, conveniant and always clean. I also feel safe when travelling on it, as there are CCTV cameras and police present in the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights. It would be better if I could get anywhere near home using it, but it does make travelling around most of Tyne and Wear simple and easy.
Summary: The underground and overground small train system in Tyne and Wear
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