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Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Public ownership ahead for Tyne and Wear Metro

Nexus has confirmed that the Tyne and Wear Metro system will enter public ownership.

Nexus is seeking endorsement from Leaders of the North East Combined Authority to manage Metro operations directly for two years from April 2017, once the current contract has expired.

Although Nexus has the contractual right to extend the current contract for a further two years, it today said it did not wish to exercise this option.

It is instead proposing to manage train operations and stations directly until 2019, allowing it to prepare for significant changes that will come with investment in a new train fleet.

Both Nexus and the operator, DB Regio Tyne and Wear Ltd, are dissatisfied with the structure and the financial and operational performance of the current contract, as passenger outcomes are not where either party would want them to be.

Nexus has agreed an investment package with DB Regio to deliver improvements in fleet performance and customer service for Metro’s 40 million passengers over the final year of the contract.

Nexus, as a public body, already sets fares and service specifications for Metro as well as maintaining most of the infrastructure on which trains run.

Under the proposals it would manage Metro stations and train operations directly from 2017 until 2019, when a new and different contract would begin incorporating delivery of a new train fleet during the first half of the next decade.

Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, said: “The future of the Tyne and Wear Metro holds a major investment in a new fleet of trains, and we need to prepare the business for that.

“The current contract that expires in March 2017 is not delivering the outcomes for passengers that either we or the operator wants to see. As a result we propose not to exercise our option to extend it beyond its natural expiry date. An investment package has been agreed to improve performance over the final year of the contract.”

Tobyn added: “Managing Metro directly for a limited period will allow Nexus to prepare the Metro business for the significant change that will come with further investment of more than £400m in a new train fleet in the coming years.”

Transport union RMT today hailed a massive victory in the battle for public ownership as Nexus confirmed this morning that Deutsche Bahn will have their contract for the Tyne and Wear Metro ripped up with the service being taken into direct public control from April next year.

General ‎Secretary Mick Cash said: “Today’s announcement on the Tyne and Wear Metro is a massive boost in the battle for public ownership and comes after years of hard work and pressure from RMT members and officials across the North East. This is their victory.

“RMT will now press for the initial two year transition to be turned into a permanent arrangement for this essential public service. Today’s announcement proves that the combination of a strong union and a relentless public campaign is unstoppable.”

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