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FEEL SAFER: More customer service staff on Metro

FEEL SAFER: More customer service staff on Metro

Metro staff handing out face masks at West Jesmond Station as lockdown measures are lifted on 'Freedom Day' July 19, Image: NCJ Media

More customer service staff will be deployed on the Metro system in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour and make customers feel safer.

The Nexus customer service plan, heard at Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Transport Committee, announced the latest measures.

The document admitted that anti-social behaviour on the Metro network is a “major cause of concern” for its passengers, and is causing the network to lose money.

It said: “Anti-social behaviour is a major cause of concern for our passengers and a significant cost to the network. We will implement our new Customer Service structure which will provide greater presence on the network to provide reduce fraud rates and to provide reassurance to customers.”

It is understood that staffing numbers will increase by 40 meaning that 141 customer service personnel will be on the network.

At the meeting Martin Kearney, chief operating officer at Nexus said the new measures would start from next week.

He said:  “I’m really pleased that we have announced today that we have re-organised our customer service team.

“We are going to see a greater on board presence of customer support team whilst we’re trying to operate gate lines later into the evening, we’re commencing that from next week.

“It’s a really great opportunity for us to reassure customers about how Metro is safe to use and try and bring more customers back to Metro whilst also dealing with any isolated incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

Metro’s Customer Service Advisers also have new uniforms and will have two distinct tasks.

Roving customer support teams will wear blue jackets and provide a mobile presence across Metro when it is needed most.

And concourse teams in a new red berry coloured uniform will work at busy stations to offer advice and help customers at ticket machines and when passing through gates.

Nexus says the shake-up frees up more resources to tackle anti-social behaviour and fare evasion, and means that ticket gates will be in use across the entire operational day as it is rolled out in run up to Christmas and the new year.

The Metro currently has the highest customer numbers in the country, with 80% ridership compared to pre-pandemic levels, and customer satisfaction scores are at a seven year high.

Nexus is looking to build on this and attract more people back to using the service.

This comes after the families of three young yobs involved in serious antisocial and criminal behaviour on the Metro system were told by North Tyneside Council they could be evicted.

Northumbria Police and officers from the authority’s housing department teamed up on Monday morning to give the parents of delinquents a wake-up call.

They served notices seeking possession of three council houses, in Long Benton and New York, linked with the youngsters who are aged between 14 and 15.

These notices are the first step in the eviction process for each of the tenants, which may be pursued through the court

The council and police have repeatedly tried to work with the tenants and encourage them to rein in their children’s behaviour but with no success.

 

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter


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