I use the Metro everyday for getting to and from work everyday. Similar to the London Underground it runs from about 5.30am till 12 at night. Covering much of tyne and wear hence the name Tyne and Wear metro the service operates on two lines: Green: Airport (newcastle) to South Hylton (sunderland) and Yellow: South Shields to St James.
Trains are generally timetabled to run 12 mins apart (which changes to 6mins between South Gosforth and Pelaw where the two lines run side-by-side. The service runs on Sunday however there are less trains operating and you will generally wait 20mins for a train if you are not in the city center.
The trains are generally quite clean (compared to what I have seen). They are well laid out and are quite spacious, however it might not seem that way come 5pm on saturday after 52000 newcastle fans are heading home (can someone tell me why they don't add another carriage to these trains on matchdays). Trains also do not have toilets which is probably a good thing because no doubt they would just get vandalised.
The stations are mostly accessible via ramps for people with disabilities although you do get the chav hanging around them at night which some people may be a little uneasy with. Most lifts have now been replaced recently as well so no more of those poor lit and stinking lifts.
Tickets can either be purchased in adavnce or bought at Ticket Machines (beware they only take coins, not notes and certainly not cards, however I do hear that that will change in the next 3 years), or you purchase them in advance with a Metro Daysaver Pass which costs me £44 a month for a two zone pass (which saves me £26 just getting to work, plus all of the other times I use the metro out of work so it's worth getting one).
Also another point for you guys. Mobile phones also work underground as Telephone repeaters have been installed into the tunnels so you can get a signal whilst on the platforms underground or in the tunnels which I think is quite an achievement considering that Metro were the first people in Europe to do this apparently.
Overall i'd say 4 out of 5
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.
When some people come and visit me in Newcastle they are often surprised to find that Newcastle has its own equivalent of the London Underground. This surprise is because it is such a small city. They often then further question the need for this service when they discover that the Metro runs on only two lines.
However the Metro is a fantastic service that provides a very carbon efficient method of transport and commuting for a lot of people. The metro helps link up the suburbs of Newcastle to the city centre however it also does a lot more. It provides a quick method of transport in three directions- to the airport, to the coast or to Sunderland the next nearest city.
For me there is only one annoying thing about the Metro and that is that ticket prices have risen incredibly. The main problem is that whilst the prices are great if you are going out to the airport (£1.90 return) it also costs (£1.90) to travel into town which is under a mile away. Thinking about it, my annoyance probably comes from the prices rising rather than the prices themselves because I guess that these prices are still actually pretty decent.
The trains tend to be pretty clean and they do not run beyond half past midnight which means that they are not subjected to many drunks.
A very reliable service that is fundamental to travel around Newcastle.
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.
Everyone in the North East knows about the metro system, but for the rest of you that don't, let me introduce you... What is it? The Tyne and Wear Metro system is operated by Nexus (the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive). It is a rapid light rail system which plays a huge part in the region's public transport network. History: Tyne and Wear needed to tackle the region’s poor pubic transport system in the early 1970s. Plans for a new rapid transit system were developed and work began underneath Newcastle city centre in 1974. The first phase opened between 1980-1984 and since then the system has been extended as far north as the airport and, only opening this month, south to Sunderland. Where can I use it? In Tyne and Wear, obviously, but more specifically around Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and North and South Tyneside. What are the trains like? The train carriages sit between 60-80 people with additional room for standing (there are plenty of handrails should you be unfortunate enough not to get a seat). The trains are generally clean and I have never had a problem getting a seat out of rush hours. There are wide doors on either side of the carriages which are opened by pressing a button; the carriages have low floors (level with the platform) to provide easy access for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The seats are relatively comfortable and clean, although I wouldn’t eat my dinner off them! In terms of cleanliness it puts the London Underground to shame! There are maps inside the carriages and station names are clearly visible from the train when drawing up at a platform. There is an emergency button to press if needed. Externally, the carriages are usually bright yellow but are occasionally decorated with art or adverts. How much does it cost? Like any public transport system there is a wide variety of fares, passes and discounts. If y
ou are going to travel frequently on the Metro, I would suggest that you contact your local Nexus Travel Centre to find out the best scheme for yourself. There are ticket machines at all stations from which you can buy a single, return and standard concessionary tickets. Concessions are available for children, students, OAPs and the unemployed. Commuters can purchase monthly or annual season tickets (I don’t think these are discounted) to save them from buying a ticket every day. The ticket machines do not accept notes, make sure that you have change with you to buy your ticket with. Price of Newcastle-Sunderland Journeys (buying ticket from machine) Single: £1.80 Return: £3.20 Cheap Return: £2.70 (travel after 9.30 am). How often does it operate? During peak times the trains run every 7-8 minutes and at other times it’s usually every 10 minutes. Trains run less frequently on a Sunday. The service starts operating around 0535 and finishes around midnight. I have found the Metro reliable and punctual most of the time, although there have been strikes recently (and there may be more planned) which have disrupted the service. How safe is it? As a woman I don’t like to travel on the metro alone at night, but my fiancé doesn’t mind a jot! The stations are well lit with CCTV cameras, there are also help points available (where you press a button and voice answers!). There has been a lot of vandalism on the metro system in recent years and efforts have been made to improve safety and security; more cameras have been installed and staff employed. I think it has improved recently. Other There’s no smoking on the metro. You can’t take a bike on the train, but there are cycle lockers at some stations. What I would like! I would like to see the metro running a bit later to cater for Newcastle’s busy nightlife, but that might make the
cabbies frown! I would also like to see the metro run down to the Quayside and to the Metro Centre (which has a deceiving name considering the metro runs nowhere near!). Further Info: For more information visit: www.nexus.org.uk www.tyneandwearmetro.co.uk or call The Tyne and Wear Traveline on: 0870 608 2 608