Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Our Service Is Credible but It Must Get Better

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Our Service Is Credible but It Must Get Better

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

Q You took over at a time when Metro performance was going down. Has it improved?

A I came in at a difficult time when were dealing with some of the effects of the extension to Sunderland. Then we had huge problems in the Heworth area.

I'm pleased to say both have improved and the overall performance of the Metro has improved. We're meeting our targets on punctuality most days and are over-achieving on our target of trains operated. There's more to do but compared with this time last year we're back on even keel.

Q You said you were not aiming to cut services but daytime off-peak services have been cut, along with peak trains between Newcastle and South Shields. What do you say to inconvenienced passengers?

A The Metro is funded through public funds and we have to demonstrate we're spending that money wisely and efficiently. We came to the view we could provide a more efficient service but still provide a quality service. When people say they're standing, that's to be expected on a mass transit system in an urban area. If people weren't standing during peak hours I'd be concerned because we wouldn't be carrying enough passengers.

Between the peaks we're now running a 12-minute instead of a 10-minute service. On the South Shields line we still have a 10-minute service at the peak where previously it was seven-and-a-half minutes. Provided we are carrying all the passengers I believe we're providing a service efficiently.

Q Is there a chance the axed trains will be restored?

A We have not got to the stage where we believe boardings are reaching the point where we would need to put on extra trains. If that were the case we'd need to consider how to do that within the resources available.

QOne aim a year ago was to get the Metro back to a zero subsidy within three years. …

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