Emma called the debate in Westminster Hall in response to growing frustration from passengers with the Metro’s performance. Despite a recent refurbishment of the Metro fleet, power failures and door failures remain common, and delays happen on the majority of days. On the day of the day debate itself, ticket machine failures caused serious delays for passengers.
MPs heard that over 800 hours of delays had been recorded in the last year, and that constituents had been docked pay for missing work as a result of transport delays.
Addressing the Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP, Emma said that the Government needed to support investment in new trains by working with Metro bosses Nexus and building on the £350m of investment agreed by the last Labour Government in 2010.
“Our local councils and Nexus have shown a willingness to invest in our local transport. There is clearly local demand, but we need a similar commitment from central Government. Today I want to hear what plans the Minister has to support the purchase of new rolling stock for the Metro as quickly as possible.”
Emma was joined by MPs from across the Tyne & Wear area, and by Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister Lilian Greenwood MP. MPs criticised the Government’s failure to invest in transport infrastructure in the North East, pointing out that just £223 was spent in the region per person compared to £5,426 in London.
Responding to the debate, Mr Jones accepted that the reliability of trains was a key issue, and said that the Government was committed to continuing investment in the Metro.
Unfortunately he did not make a commitment to funding new trains, saying that discussions on this were “at the very earliest stages”. However, he did recognise that the current trains are coming to the end of their life and told MPs that “we are looking towards a new train fleet.”
You can read the debate in full by clicking here.
Speaking after the debate, Emma said:
“It is important that the Government pays attention to the transport needs of the North East, and I am pleased that so many colleagues joined me to press the Minister for investment in our Metro. It is disappointing that we did not get a commitment today, but if we keep the issue on the Government’s agenda then I am confident we will make progress.
“New trains are obviously not going to be brought in overnight, however, and in the meantime I will be pressing Nexus to deal with the day-to-day problems facing the service. If constituents have any issues with the Metro, I urge them to get in contact with me so that I can take their concerns up with Nexus directly.”
Constituents can share their experiences of poor service by emailing Emma at email@example.com.