Council leaders signed off on a £3.2 million investment package on Tuesday (July 12) that will deliver improvements at six Metro park and ride sites – Bank Foot, Callerton, Regent Centre, Northumberland Park, Four Lane Ends and the Stadium of Light.
The upgrades will see outdated coin-only ticket machines replaced by contactless payment, enhanced digital CCTV cameras and more efficient lighting installed, and real-time updates on car park occupancy provided on Nexus’ website and app.
Bosses hope the changes will tempt more travellers back to public transport, especially at a time when fuel prices have skyrocketed.
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Funding for the scheme was agreed by the North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) and will be provided by the government’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme.
The North East was given a £198 million share of the TCF, a major chunk of which paying for the Metro Flow project to dual railway tracks in South Tyneside and boost the network’s capacity by 24,000 people per day.
That massive project will require a 12-week shutdown of the Metro between Pelaw and South Shields between September and December.
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."
There are 1,550 parking spaces across the six sites due to benefit from the new funding.
Gateshead Council leader Martin Gannon, who chairs the JTC, added: “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.”