Keep the Metro public, say MPs and trade unions

More information on the campaign to keep the best performing rail service in public hands, from the TUC:

There has been a strong trade union-led campaign welcoming the massive government investment in the Metro, but opposing any moves to allow private operators to cash in on this opportunity.

The campaign welcomes the government commitment for significant investment to facilitate the reinvigoration of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Tyne and Wear Metro is an integral part of the social, economic and environmental infrastructure in the region

Tyne and Wear Metro is overwhelmingly valued and appreciated by the people and business community in the area

Tyne and Wear Metro has an excellent track record of service delivery, ahead of any private sector train operator, including punctuality, reliability, health and safety and customer service.

Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional Secretary said, ‘The Metro is a major economic, social and environmental asset for Tyne and Wear and the investment to reinvigorate the system is desperately needed and very welcome.

‘It is an excellent example of public service delivery in the public sector, the fact that Nexus have been nominated for the Train Operating Company of the Year Award is testament to the terrific staff working on the Metro.

‘We are confident that the service can remain within the public sector – and adamant that it should.’

Jim Cousins, MP for Newcastle Central said: ‘Metro is one of the most successful public enterprises in England. I will do everything I can keep it as a public enterprise. The decision of Nexus to ask for bids for a single contract covering operation and renewal creates a very juicy target. It’s worth over a billion pounds over 7-9 years. I will be backing the ‘in house’ bid to keep Metro public.’

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader Sunderland City Council said: ”A £350M investment in the Metro infrastructure is a clear demonstration of both Local and National Government’s determination to ensure that this region has the best public transport system achievable.

‘It is good to see Nexus Staff and Management working together to facilitate the in-house bid, which I am sure will be an extremely strong and competitive one. This process will, I feel, be good for Sunderland, the Region and the Metro.’

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Gateshead said: ‘The Metro has been serving my constituency for almost thirty years and I’m delighted that the Government is committed to keeping the Metro running for another thirty years and beyond. It provides an important service to people of all ages across Tyne and Wear whether it is getting them to work, to the shops or to school. I’m confident that this funding will give Tyne and Wear a Metro service which is fit for the 21st century.’

Dave Clelland, MP for Tyne Bridge said: ‘I very much welcome this new lease of life that Metro has been given by the Labour government. The system can now continue to serve the people of Tyne and Wear for the next 25 years as it has over the past 25.’

Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth said: ‘My constituents value the metro but recognise it needs updating. The Government investment is welcome and a huge commitment to the future economic wellbeing of our area.’

Chris Mullin, MP for Sunderland South said: ‘The Metro is greatly valued in Sunderland. It is well-managed and efficient and I hope it will remain wholly in the public sector.’

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The Metro is an established and integral part of the North East social and economic infrastructure and has been for almost 30 years. The Metro is publicly owned by all five Tyne and Wear Councils. As it stands, it consistently out-performs all other UK transport systems. It has the:

Best safety record

Most productive staff

Lowest level of public subsidy

Highest level of trains actually run (99.5%)

Highest % of trains arriving on time (96.25%)

However, after 30 years of consistent heavy use it is in need of modernising to keep it the best and the government have made a very welcome commitment to inject a £350 million investment to facilitate the reinvigoration of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

There is currently a procurement process to show best value for the investment including an in-house bid from NEXUS which is being supported by Metro trade unions.

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