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Tyne & Wear Metro to be publicly-run after passengers ‘let down’ by DB Regio

Council leaders in the north east have stated that the seven-year Tyne & Wear Metro contract with DB Regio, which is due to end in March 2017, should not be extended.

In a report to the North East Combined Authority (NECA) it was noted that both transport authority Nexus and the operator, DB Regio Tyne and Wear Ltd (DBTW), are “dissatisfied” with the structure and the financial and operational performance of the current contract.

The report added that this, consequently, means that passenger outcomes “are not where either party would want them to be”. From 1 April 2017 until 31 March 2019, Nexus intends to manage the Metro as an in-house operation.

In a joint statement, the leaders of NECA, made up of the region’s seven local authorities, said: “For too long now Metro passengers have been let down by DB Regio.

“The operating contract with DB ends in March 2017 and leaders on the Combined Authority are clear that it should not be extended. It has not been delivering for local people, and now is the time to move on and plan for the future.”

They added that they will be demanding DB Regio does all it can to meet the expectations of passengers in Tyne and Wear in the run up to the contract termination date.

“After that, we have two years to look at how we improve the Metro as we plan with government to win future investment,” the leaders added. “While ministers have made clear they will insist on continued private sector involvement in the Metro, we have a chance from 2017 to 2019 to show what can be achieved with a publicly-run railway.”

It was noted that an investment package has been agreed with DBTW to improve performance over the final year of the contract.

Tobyn Hughes, MD of Nexus, said: “The future of the Tyne and Wear Metro holds a major investment in a new fleet of trains, and we need to prepare the business for that.

“The current contract that expires in March 2017 is not delivering the outcomes for passengers that either we or the operator wants to see. As a result we propose not to exercise our option to extend it beyond its natural expiry date.

 “Managing Metro directly for a limited period will allow Nexus to prepare the Metro business for the significant change that will come with further investment of more than £400m in a new train fleet in the coming years.”

RMT general ‎secretary Mick Cash welcomed the announcement that the contract would not be extended.

Sharon Kelly, MD of DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “As scheduled, our contract with Nexus was always due to end on 31 March, 2017, and we will remain fully committed to the contract until this date.

“We have played a significant role in the successful delivery of the Metro fleet refurbishment, we’ve invested in improving station environments and we’re proud to be able to say that all Metro stations have been accredited as Safer Tram Stops.”

RTM reported in December 2015 that the government’s commitment to creating a Northern Powerhouse had come under question after the DfT revealed a £33m cut in investment to upgrading the Tyne & Wear Metro.

(Image: c. Phil Thirkell)


Andrew G   28/03/2016 at 22:08

So who is going to bid to take over the Tyne and Wear metro franchise. I think a few bidders could be bidding to take over. Abellio+Serco or just Abellio National Express Group Stagecoach First Group Govia+Go Ahead/Kelios Or DB Bahn (DB Arriva)

Duncan Jack   24/04/2016 at 22:15

Why not keep the Metro in public hands, permenantly. We the people paid for it, so why not run it for the benefit of the majority, and plough any profits back into further investment and employment. And before we accept anymore bids from other European state railway systems, ask them if they've opened their markets to allow us to bid to run services in their countries.

Lutz   07/05/2016 at 08:48

It sounds like there is more to the story; Why did all three parties to the contract find it unsatisfactory?

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