Newest Review: ... too, great for passengers with wheelchairs & pushchairs as they offer step free access at most stations. Some of them are a bit run dow... more
Tyne & Wear Metro
Member Name: hunnybabyuk
Tyne & Wear Metro
Date: 13/09/09, updated on 27/05/11 (274 review reads)
Advantages: Great high frequency timetable which is quite reliable and offers great multi-modal ticketing option
Disadvantages: Train cleanliness sometimes and the state of some old trains
The Tyne & Wear Metro, also known as, The Metro, is famous in the North East, especially where it's based in the Newcaste & Sunderland areas of the region and locals are quite fond of their version of the London Underground.
The Metro is owned & operated by Nexus, the Tyne & Wears public transport executive. It was created back in 1980 & the first section was open on 11th August 1980 between Tynemouth & Haymarket via Whitley Bay & South Gosforth and has expanded to operate to & from 60 stations across the Tyne & Wear along 2 lines.
The system operates two easy to follow lines, the Green line runs between Airport and South Hylton/Sunderland and the Yellow line running between St James' and South Shields via the Coast
90 metrocars (trains) operate out of one depot based at South Gosforth, the metrocars are easy to spot with their red & yellow livery, the trains are spacious with plenty of seats & standing room. They are easy accessable too, great for passengers with wheelchairs & pushchairs as they offer step free access at most stations. Some of them are a bit run down as they have been on the network a long time but Nexus are investing a lot of money into the network and part of that money is going to replacing ALL the metrocars, getting brand new, more efficent & clean trains for both routes.
The service runs to a timetable but trains operate upto every 10 or so minutes so really you can just turn up and go. The timetables great, with evenly spread out times from early morning right through the day until late night Monday to Sunday so you can get the Metro pretty much anytime you wish.
Metro tickets are reasonably priced and you can buy a range of tickets from single & return, to day tickets, season tickets & multi-modal tickets. Tickets are available from vending machines at each station, machines are simple to use select type of ticket & where you wish to go and it displays the ticket price, they are old machines though so you must have cash as they do not take cards which is a pain but as part of the multi-million pound investment they are also renewing the ticket machines at all stations with brand new, stylish & easier to use machines which will take cash, offer change & take payments using cards, they will also be setup to offer prepaid cards (just like London's Oyster Card) which Nexus are hoping to introduce in a few years time.
You can also use some multi-modal tickets on the Metro including Explorer tickets & others used on buses or the shields ferry.
Stations are located all over the area so your probably quite close to one and they are easy to use, most stations have buses linking them to neighbouring parts and you can buy transfares from bus to metro to help cut the cost of your journey. Stations are located at most of the tourist attractions, leisure facilities & in town centres. In fact theres several stations in Newcastle City Centre alone. The only major place I can think of that don't have a Metro station is the Metrocentre (Europes largest shopping centre) however trains operate into Gateshead Interchange upto every 10 minutes where you can catch the frequent Centrelink X66 bus service which runs non-stop from the Interchange to Metrocentre upto every few minutes or at Newcastle Central you can catch express bus 100 running non-stop upto every 8 minutes from Central Station to Metrocentre, both buses take about 13 minutes to get you there. As part of upgrade plans on the Metro, Nexus have not ruled out an extension, subject to planning permission for the Metro to extend to the Metrocentre.
Overall I think the Tyne & Wear metro is a good system, trains are clean enough and tend to run ontime, but like all rail systems are subject to engineering & closures but good rail replacement buses operate on these occasions. Tickets are fairly priced & with multi-modal tickets, including multi-modal day tickets like the explorer you can get out and about across the area all day making it a great day out shopping, visiting people or seeing the sights. And with a high frequency daytime timetable your not long away from the next train.
Summary: A great system