Combined rail and Metro tickets “will be ‘game-changing’

Passengers will enjoy a ‘truly game-changing’ experience when the Northumberland Line opens, with Pop Pay As You Go smart card fares offering seamless interchange with the Tyne and Wear Metro alongside traditional rail-only tickets, and with prices starting from as little as £1.

A report will be discussed at the next meeting of the North East’s Joint Transport Committee setting out integrated rail and Metro fares which will complement tickets sold by the Northumberland Line’s operator Northern for rail-only journeys.

Northern has worked with Nexus, the public body which runs Metro, and Northumberland County Council to establish good value integrated fares for multi-modal journeys using the North East’s successful Pop Pay As You Go payment system on Android phones and smart cards.

Like existing “Pop” users, Northumberland Line passengers will “touch in” at either a station validator or at an automatic ticket gate when starting their journey, and “touch out” at their destination. The technology behind the Pop card means that the cheapest combined fare will then be deducted – helping passengers ensure they’re getting the best price for their journey, applying a daily cap if they have made several trips.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, welcomes the new approach and said: “The arrival of integrated ticketing on the Northumberland Line using the “Pop Pay As You Go” is a truly game-changing initiative. 

“I take my hat off to Northumberland County Council who have led this successful project to reintroduce desperately needed local rail services to communities that suffer from public transport isolation, starting from this summer. And I am delighted that now, working together as a region, we can make sure that people can travel on the new line easily and affordably using a Pop card or mobile phone app when they want to travel across the region, to supplement the standard rail fares on offer. 

“Each station along the Northumberland Line will have a validator at which passengers can “touch in” with their Pop card or mobile phone app. When they “touch out” at the end of their journey the system will automatically deduct the cheapest fare for their journey from their Pop Pay As You Go account, applying a daily cap if they have made several trips.  That means Metro-style fares are available to everyone, and particularly good value fares for young people aged 21 and under at £1 per trip with a daily cap of £2.20 (£1.70 for under 16s).

“This pioneering scheme shows that by working together our region can solve the puzzle of integration. When the region’s new Combined Authority is created in May, we will look to extend integrated ticketing across the region by bringing buses and other rail services inside the daily cap.”

Northumberland County Council Leader Glen Sanderson added: “The Northumberland Line will be transformational when it opens from this Summer – and making it simple to use and pay for journeys is very important.

“We know a lot of people will use the Line to access other parts of our public transport network, so integrated fares make perfect sense. It’s another example of how everyone involved with this great project is working together to make the Northumberland Line such a success.”

Standalone Northern Rail tickets will also be available.

Metro customers made more than 4.3 million journeys using Pop Pay As You Go last year on Android phones and smart cards.  Pop Pay As You Go can be found within GooglePay, while Pop Pay As You Go cards are available free from the website www.nexus.org.uk, including Pop Blue smart cards for people aged 21 and under offering travel for £1 single and £3 all day.

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