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Metro riders urged to stay safe as holiday sun sends passenger numbers above pre-Covid levels UK News

Metro riders have been urged ‘not to be complacent’ after glorious holiday sunshine skyrocketed passenger levels above pre-Covid levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Families flocked to the parks and beaches in the northeast over the long weekend to take advantage of the long-awaited warm weather.

And that meant a bumper few days for the Tyne and Wear metro, which needed more than £ 40million in government bailouts to keep trains running during the pandemic crisis due to a drastic cut in ticket sales.

The network reported 70,000 passenger trips last Saturday, the highest one-day figure since March 2020 although still well below maximum capacity.

And Sunday’s total of 54,000 was notable as the only time since the start of the first lockdown where ridership levels have been above normal rates – 18% more than a typical pre-Covid Sunday, the Nexus operator.

Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health for North Tyneside, urged people to take proper precautions if they are using increasingly busy underground trains on day trips to popular places like Tynemouth or Whitley Bay.

She said: “Warmer weather and the ongoing vaccine rollout mean more people will likely use the Metro network to access our award-winning coastline.

“North Tyneside is not subject to any travel restrictions – just precautionary advice – and we are very open to business.

“We urge people not to be complacent but to continue to act with care and prudence for ourselves and for each other. This means that you should wear a face cover on public transport, unless you are exempt and continue to follow the advice of hands, face, space and social distancing at all times. “

Surge Covid testing and vaccinations continue in North Tyneside this week due to the spread of the Delta variant, previously known as the Indian variant, with mobile test units stationed in North Shields, Wallsend and Shiremoor.

The maximum safe daily capacity of the metro system under a one-meter social distancing rule for passengers is 80,000 trips.

Tynemouth Tube Station
Tynemouth Tube Station

A Nexus spokesperson said: “It’s great to see more customers coming back to the Tyne and Wear metro as normalcy gradually begins to return.

“The spring bank holiday weekend saw the highest number of daily trips since the lockdown began in March 2020, and for the first time we saw passenger numbers return above pre-Covid levels . This was undoubtedly boosted by the warmer weather encouraging more people to get out and about.

“Metro has a vital role to play in the local economy and is a key part of the recovery as restrictions are lifted.

“Customers need to have the confidence to use public transport. These networks are safe to use and have a range of Covid security measures in place.

“On Metro, this includes new signage and queuing systems, daily deep cleaning with a disinfectant, the use of a specialized antimicrobial spray to protect high-contact surfaces for 28 days, disinfectants to UV light on escalators and hand sanitizing points at key locations.

“Customers are advised to keep windows open on trains to allow fresh air to enter the cars.

“People need to make sure they travel safely, plan their trips and avoid peak periods whenever possible. Respect social distancing as much as possible. Subway trains will start to feel a little fuller and it is essential that face coverings are worn for the duration of the trip, unless you are exempt from it.

“If we all continue to take the advice, we can play our part in the ongoing path to get out of the Covid-19 restrictions. “

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