Tens of thousands of Tyne and Wear Metro passengers are missing out on cheaper tickets, almost a month after a big hike in fare prices.
The cost of single and daysaver paper tickets jumped by up to 9.5% on April 1, with transport bosses desperate to boost income after a devastating couple of years during the pandemic.
However, that blow was somewhat softened by an offer to freeze prices for passengers who travel using a Pop Pay As You Go (PAYG) smartcard or a digital Pop card, which is only available on Android phones.
That means that the cost of a ticket on a Pop card is now up to 85p cheaper than a paper ticket, so regular Metro users could save themselves more than £200 by the time of the next fare change in March 2023.
But Nexus chiefs have confirmed that a heavy majority of people across the network are still using the more expensive option from stations’ ticket machines.
A whopping 83% of adult passenger journeys are made using paper tickets, something Nexus is keen to cut down on to reduce their printing costs too.
And while not everyone will be able to benefit from the Pop price freeze, which does not apply to weekly or monthly passes for example, there are still tens of thousands of people paying more than they have to.
Single tickets now cost up to £3.90 in their paper form but are capped at a £3.25 maximum on a Pop card, while the PAYG daysaver cap is £4.85 compared to a £5.70 all-zone daysaver ticket.
All single tickets are 65p cheaper on a Pop card and all day tickets 85p cheaper, with the same savings also applying on the Shields Ferry too.
You can order a physical Pop card for free online by clicking here or get a digital version via Google Pay, if you have an Android phone.
Huw Lewis, customer services director for Nexus, said: “We have seen the number of people using Pop on Android or Pay As You Go smart cards has jumped from 14% of our day journeys to 17% since the end of March. That’s around 20,000 new journeys made with Pop, and our customers have saved money on every single trip. We’ve already seen more than 800 people discover Pop on Android and we expect that number to keep growing as word gets out.
“Our message is simple: Pop Pay As You Go will be frozen in price until at least March 2023. As the cost of living rises, we promise you won’t pay a penny more for Metro for a year – and in that time you can easily save £200 by switching to Pop today, as well as finding it an easier and simpler way to pay for journeys.
“We expect to see many more Metro customers make the money-saving switch to Pop in the weeks and months to come. We’ve just launched a marketing campaign to thousands of homes around Metro stations to make sure people know how they can save money.”