Coronavirus: No more Metro cuts 'for foreseeable future'

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Passengers on a Metro carriage
Image caption,
Far fewer people are travelling on the Metro as many workers stay at home

Transport chiefs say they have no more plans to cut services on the Tyne and Wear Metro as they continue talks over a bailout.

It emerged last week that trains and jobs could be axed if the government does not agree to a £10m support package after passenger numbers fell by 90% amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Reduced services are running every 24 minutes on each line.

Operator Nexus said no more cuts were planned "for the foreseeable future".

The firm added it was in "active discussions" with the Department for Transport over funding, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

A spokesman said: "Metro's revenue has dropped substantially due to the lockdown and in the longer term we will need support from government if we are to maintain frontline services.

"We have made this very clear in the discussions we have held with ministers and civil servants.

"There are no plans to further reduce the frequency of Metro or Shields Ferry services for the foreseeable future. We are providing a timetable which meets the needs of key workers and maintains social distancing so people can travel safely."

The firm has stressed only key workers should be travelling, with everyone else following government guidelines to stay at home in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

There were about 600,000 fewer journeys on the system last month.

Ticket sales would normally contribute about £48m towards the £104m cost of running the network.

Last month the Department for Transport said it was "working closely with Nexus to identify solutions".

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