In the last couple of years I’ve been using Tyne and Wear Metro for days out more frequently, it’s so convenient! As an android smartphone user I’m delighted that it’s now possible to load a POP Pay As You Go Card to Google Pay.
Contactless payments + the best value fares automatically calculated for you = a stress free, great value journey! What’s not to love?
How Does It Work?
If you’re already a Google Pay user, it couldn’t be easier to add a Pop Pay As You Go Card to your account. Just tap on ‘add a card’, then ‘public transport’. You’ll find Pop under ‘North East England’. You need to top the Pop account up with at least £10, this can be done as you add the card, the whole process took me less than a minute!
Once you’ve done that, you can simply scan the virtual card at gate lines and validators across the Metro route. Google Pay automatically deducts the fare from the virtual card and applies the Pop Pay As You Go discount. It’s a no brainer!
Benefits of Virtual Cards
I also love the fact that you don’t have to faff about looking for your plastic card, or waiting for one to be delivered when you first order one. Virtual cards are definitely the way forward! I’m much less likely to loose them and it means I don’t have to carry a purse anymore!
What I Got Up To On a Day Out in Sunderland
In order to road test the new way to pay on Tyne and Wear Metro I recently travelled from my home near Callerton Parkway station in Newcastle to Park Lane, Sunderland and Seaburn on Wearside.
I love a day out in and around Sunderland. I lived in the city for over 5 years in the early 2000’s so it’s always cool to go back and see how things have changed. There seems to be some lush new bar, restaurant or event to discover every time I return!
The Rain Didn’t Dampen my Spirits
The weather was pretty abysmal on my recent visit so some of my plans were put on hold till next time. A walk along the beautiful coastline, a wander through Mowbray Park and checking out the impressive restoration of the 1908 Central Fire Station in to an awesome live music venue, all these things will have to wait till next time.
However, I did discover a cosy little coffee shop, some fab independent shops and I finally paid a visit to Stack Seaburn!
Here’s a few pics from my solo adventure around Sunderland…
My journey started at Callerton Parkway. There’s bike storage and park and ride available here. The car park is currently free to Metro users (March 2022, check signage for up to date info). So, it’s ideal for anyone living slightly further afield. I travelled directly to Park Lane in Sunderland City centre and it was totally chilled.
It was grey and drizzly when I arrived so I found the sanctuary of a cosy coffee shop that had been recommended to me. Coffee Haus is a real hidden gem, tucked away at the back of Port Independent clothing store on St Thomas’ Street in Sunniside. I loved the vibe, definitely a new fave!
This flat white and Bakewell slice from Coffee Haus totally hit the spot! Unfortunately I did spill coffee down my top, can’t take me anywhere! Not to worry though, it was the perfect excuse to hit the shops!
I’ve always enjoyed Sunderland’s mix of high street and independent shops. These days it’s better than ever, largely thanks to the impressive transformation of Mackie’s Corner. This beautiful restored building is now home to an eclectic array of retail units with offices above. Sadly a few businesses were closed on the day I visited (it was a Monday) but I’ll definitely be back to check them all out soon. Including Cafe 1851, Fat Unicorn Kitchen and The Sweet Petite. There’s even a fancy hair salon.
For clothing Mackie’s Corner has something for everyone. Master Debonair is a very dapper men’s store and Bou-chique offers a stylish collection of ladies wear. It was here I picked up a gorgeous snuggly jumper for £10!
I’ve pretty much lived in this bargain jumper since my visit to Sunderland!
As I made my way to Sunderland Metro station I couldn’t help stopping to admire some of the many beautiful buildings around the city centre. I really wish I’d brought a camera with a zoom lens to get a close up of the elephant sculpture on this amazing building!
A quick tap of my phone and a couple of stops later I arrived in Seaburn. It’s a leisurely 20 minute walk from the Metro station down to Stack on the seafront. This area has really flourished in recent years. There’s a stunning new hotel overlooking the beach (The Seaburn Inn) and opposite Stack there’s a modern Pan Asian restaurant called House of Zen that looked lovely. As you can see the weather hadn’t improved when I got to Stack but even though this is largely an open air venue, there are still plenty of places to take cover beside the many food and drink outlets.
After several laps of Stack I finally settled on a decision for lunch – Bao Down! This tempting little eatery can also be found at Stack in Newcastle. I ordered two buns for £7.50 – a Katsu chicken one and a classic barbecue Korean pork – both absolutely delicious! It was pretty quiet at Stack on rainy Monday afternoon in March but I but it’s jumping on a sunny weekend. I will definitely be returning with my partner James and Pat the dog for a summer day out!
I headed home after my tasty lunch, gutted that the weather wasn’t on my side. I’m sure it won’t be long till my next day out on the Metro though. Keep an eye out on my Life in Geordieland Instagram page to follow along!
This little vid is worth watching if you need more help adding Pop to your Google Pay account:
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