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Sunday, April 14, 2024

£1 Train rides: North East unveils integrated fares for seamless travel on restored railway route

Northumberland Line fares to link to Tyne and Wear Metro Pop card in 'game-changing' move

People will be able to travel by train from Ashington to as far away as Sunderland for as little as £1, after integrated fares connecting to a restored railway route were signed off.

North East leaders agreed on Tuesday to join up ticket prices that will allow passengers to travel seamlessly across the Tyne and Wear Metro and the Northern-run trains that will run on the Northumberland Line, where services are due to begin running this summer.

The “game-changing” decision means that the Metro’s Pop Pay As You Go smart cards will be usable at each of the Northumberland Line’s new stations and the Pop fares extended to those areas.

For passengers aged 21 and under, a single journey anywhere across that expanded network will cost just £1 and a full day’s travel will be capped at £2.20.

For adults, a single journey using a Pop card will cost between £1.80 and £3.80 depending on how far they travel and the daily cap is between £2.90 and £6.20.

The new map showing how the Northumberland Line will be integrated. Image: Transport North East

A new map of the larger Pop card area shows stations at Seaton Delaval, Newsham, Blyth Bebside, Bedlington, and Ashington added onto the familiar Tyne and Wear Metro network, with the creation of a new ‘zone D’ for the most northerly of those.

Northumberland Line users will also be able to buy standalone Northern Rail tickets that can only be used on that line, which also connects to Northumberland Park and Newcastle Central Station, also starting at £1 for young people and priced at less than £3 for an off-peak single fare from Ashington to Newcastle.

Only three of the restored line’s six stations are set to open this year, with Northumberland Park, Bedlington and Blyth Bebside having been pushed back until 2025.

Cllr Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council Leader. Image: Northumberland Conservatives

Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson told a meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) in Gateshead that the new connections would be “a great thing for years to come”.

He added: “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.”

Like existing Pop users, Northumberland Line passengers will be able to tap in and out at stations using either their smartcard or Android phone app – with the cheapest combined fare then automatically calculated for them.

It is hoped that, under the new regional mayor due to be elected in May, such integrated fares will be extended to all Metro, bus, and rail services across the North East.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Gateshead Council Leader. Image: Gateshead Council

Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon, who chairs the JTC, 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.”

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