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3 Reasons the New Metros Will Be a Vast Improvement

1st March 2023 by Luan Hanratty

The new Metros are now being delivered from the continent and will come into service this autumn. Here’s what’s to get excited about:

Side On is Better

The new carriages have seating along the side instead of face-to-face. This can only be a good thing, mainly because it means people can no longer put their feet on the seats.

I lived abroad for a long time and being back in this country, I find it so odd that people do this, and on fabric seats as well. It’s moronic and it’s anti-social. Not a single thought is given as to where they walked during the day and who has to sit there throughout the day. Our streets can be fairly dirty places, especially when it’s wet, and the seats on the metro are filthy. This is basically because people want to look ‘hard’ by putting their feet up. I’m glad we don’t have to tolerate it any more.

Personal Space

Another thing about living abroad is that if you go to any major city in Europe or Asia, you notice that none of the carriages have seating vis-à-vis. This is because metros are not inter-city trains. They are mass transit systems for cities and they get packed at certain times over short distances. That means people need to get on and off in a hurry with the least stress or obstruction. Crowds need to flow, so maximising standing room allows for this, and on the Tyne & Wear Metro it means we no longer have to be crammed and gasping for air around the doorways.

At off-peak times, there is always a surplus of seats and so taking a handful of seats out of the carriages is not going to make a difference. And if you have to stand, what’s the longest you will have to stand for before a seat becomes free? It’s Tyneside, not Tokyo. It’s a rare journey that is more than 30 minutes, and an even rarer one that is full the entire way.

Quality Trains That Work

The current Metro stock are ancient. They are inefficient rattling tin cans that waste voltage, lack speed and have frankly become pretty grim. It’s a clear cut case of the broken windows theory in sociology. When something is run down, no one takes any pride in it, vandalism becomes the norm and safety becomes an issue. But with these shiny new straight-out-the-wrapper trains that work, people will be less inclined to treat the system like a cesspit.

Metro travel is not really about having leisurely sociable journeys, or even pleasant ones, but the new trains will actually make getting from A to B much more pleasant and stress free.

The Metros we travel on today have been in constant use since 1982. That’s over 40 years. Long enough to be museum pieces now. The service has deteriorated badly in recent times with eternal delays and poor value for money. We are massively overdue this upgrade.


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