Leaders approve £3.2m boost for Metro Park & Ride

The North East Joint Transport Committee has approved a £3.2m upgrade to encourage greater use of Metro Park & Ride facilities – including new cashless parking facilities for passengers, improved lighting and enhanced CCTV.

The scheme is part of the North East’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme, one of the largest in the country at £198 million.

TCF provides major capital investment in public transport, sustainable transport and public places for the North East. It is an ambitious programme of investment which is designed to transform and improve the local economy, environment and society.

Following approval this week, it is hoped the improvements will encourage even more people to use public transport for at least part of their journey, helping to drive down carbon emissions in the region – a key objective of the North East Transport Plan.

Park & Ride sites which will benefit from the improvements include: Bank Foot, Callerton, Regent Centre, Northumberland Park, Four Lane Ends and the Stadium of Light. The sites provide 1,550 parking spaces at stations close to major roads into Newcastle and Sunderland making them an easy way for drivers to cut their carbon emissions.

As part of the scheme, contactless payment will replace coin-only ticket machines, this is in addition to pay-by-phone which was introduced by Nexus last year. The funding will also increase site security by providing new energy-efficient lighting and digital CCTV alongside real-time updates on car park occupancy to Nexus’ apps and website.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair, North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “This investment is a major upgrade to six Park and Ride sites making them easier to use and more attractive options for local people travelling for work, leisure or to reach education.

“We are committed to helping people make sustainable changes to their journey habits and using Park & Ride for part of your journey is a great way to cut down on mileage, carbon emissions and of course fuel costs.

“Thanks to the Transforming Cities Fund, passengers using Metro Park & Ride can enjoy quicker and easier payment options and will benefit from improved security with CCTV and better lighting.”

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Park and ride sites on Metro are really important in helping to cut congestion and emissions on our region’s roads. That’s why Nexus wants to invest in better and simpler facilities for our customers.

“Our plans underline a commitment to making Metro park and ride a more attractive and cost effective option as the cost of using a car continues to keep going up.

“The investment will go towards quicker and simplified payment options for our customers. Contactless payment will replace coin-only ticket machines, this is in addition to pay-by-phone which was introduced by Nexus last year.

“The funding will also increase site security by providing new energy-efficient lighting and digital CCTV alongside real-time updates on car park occupancy to Nexus’ apps and to our website.”

The North East Transforming Cities Fund Programme is one of the largest in the country and provides investment in strategic bus corridors, walking and cycling routes around towns and city centres, improvements to rail station gateways, Park & Ride and local Metro services through the delivery of the Metro Flow project.

For more information on the region’s Transport Cities Fund Programme, visit www.transportnortheast.gov.uk

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