City transport chaos creates perfect storm

October 29, 2017 3:52 PM
MetroOpposition Liberal Democrats have reacted with alarm to today's chaos in Newcastle arising from the almost complete failure of the Metro service.
Planned power maintenance has resulted in an unforeseen power outage to the South Gosforth depot, resulting in many of the network's cars being unable to operate. The crisis appears to have caught Metro operators Nexus without effective contingency plans, with the existing bus replacement service to Tynemouth being withdrawn and Metro passengers being unable to use tickets on bus routes.
This is expected to cause significant problems throughout the day, with only 5 trains currently running on the network, and with further problems envisaged as a result of the closure of the Tyne Bridge for the Freedom City event and with a sell-out crowd expected at Kingston Park for today's Newcastle Falcons-Leicester Tigers clash. As a result, traffic chaos and gridlock is expected in many parts of the city.
The Lib Dem Opposition has made a formal request to submit an urgent emergency question to the leader of council in his capacity as NECA's lead member for transport calling for him to apologise for the failure of the system on an important day for the city.
The Opposition will ask for an explanation of why the Metro has been unable to fulfil its conditions of carriage, and why Nexus as operator did not have contingency plans in place to ensure alternative provision was in place promptly, in line with the Metro's formal Conditions of Carriage.
Opposition transport spokesman Cllr Greg Stone said:
"This appears to be a more serious situation than the time the Metro suffered serious service failures on the day of the Great North Run, and risks inconveniencing tens of thousands of people. In the past, Nexus have blamed the then operators DB Regio for poor service. Today, they have to carry the can for a near total failure to provide a service on a day when there are at least two major events taking place in the city.
We believe that Cllr Forbes as NECA's lead member for transport is directly politically accountable for Metro and we will be calling him to account for Metro's failure to deliver its legal conditions of carriage today. Technical failures cannot always be foreseen, but the Metro management's failure to have pre-prepared contingency plans in place is a serious concern. .
Today should serve as a stark warning to Tyne and Wear passengers about what is likely to happen more and more frequently if NECA and Nexus fail to secure improvements to an ageing system which is approaching the end of its functionality. It should serve as an urgent wake up call to NECA and the Government to agree plans for an upgrade as soon as possible."
NOTE : 3.2 of the Metro's Conditions of Carriage which states the legal rights of customers reads:
"If the service is withdrawn due to a fault or planned engineering works, Metro will provide alternative travel arrangements, depending on the circumstances. These will normally be by way of either replacement buses, taxis, shuttle services, or the acceptance of Metro tickets on other commercial services."