We'll Help Passengers Reach Their Destination; Coping with Metro Work Disruption

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB PATTINSON

TODAY the Chronicle can unveil your guide to beating the holdups as Metro bosses prepare to close one of Tyneside's busiest commuter routes.

The whole line between Byker station, in Newcastle, and Tynemouth, North Tyneside, is set to close for 23 days from this Saturday, despite being one of the busiest commuter routes in and out of the city.

Metro chiefs have said they are now gearing up for the biggest bus replacement service in Tyneside's history, ahead of the pounds 22m modernisation programme.

The train operator is putting the final touches to the plans to move up to 14,000 commuters a day, expected to be affected by closures that begin this weekend.

Nexus, who operate the system, are already warning passengers who usually use the route their journey times could double.

A bus replacement service - number 900 - will be in operation along the route stopping at, or close to, all Metro stations.

The modern double-decker buses, most of which will offer low-level easy access, will be stopping at, or close to all Metro stations, but not at other stops.

Transport bosses have announced passes for the system will be valid on all 900 services, but not on other buses routes.

Tickets must be bought by passengers on buses, except at North Shields and Tynemouth stations, where ticket machines will still be working.

Extra services from the coast to Newcastle, via Four Lane Ends station, will be running during the closures. This will mean commuters from North Shields will have a shorter journey time if they take the long route on the Metro.

Director General of Nexus Bernard Garner has described the work as "vital" to meeting the needs of families on Tyneside.

He said: "The modernisation of the line between Byker and Tynemouth is vital to secure Metro's future, and the least disruptive way to do the work is to close it for a concentrated period. …