Light Rail journeys rise again in England

The Department for Transport have released the annual Light Rail and Tram statistics with the latest data showing that once again passenger journeys have increased with a total of 204 million recorded across the eight systems which make up the statistics. This is the twentieth straight year that passenger journeys have increased and is also the first time that these figures have gone over the 200 million mark.

The eight systems which are considered to be light rail systems for the purposes of the DfT statistics are the Blackpool Tramway, Docklands Light Railway, London Tramlink, Manchester Metrolink, Midland Metro, Nottingham Express Transit, Sheffield Supertram and Tyne and Wear Metro.

The data shows that the main reason for the increase in passenger journeys is due to strong growth on both the Docklands Light Railway and London Tramlink where combined they have seen an eight per cent rise from the previous years figures and in total since 2004/5 a massive 60 per cent increase in passenger journeys. In total over half of the passenger journeys in England have been on the DLR and Tramlink with 56 per cent of the 204 million being accounted for on these two systems.

Unfortunately outside of London most of the systems have seen a fall in passenger  numbers with only Manchester Metrolink enjoying an increase, something which is likely to continue for a number of years as the system continues to expand. The worst fall was, rather predictably, seen in Blackpool with a 33% decrease in passenger numbers from the previous year. However, the next set of figures should start to see an increase in Blackpool
following the end of the upgrade work and incredibly positive passenger loadings since Easter when the Flexities started in service. In total outside of London a 1 per cent decrease in passenger journeys was recorded in 2011/2.

Also included in the data is the number of miles run by trams and light rail vehicles in the country and this shows that 14.5 million miles were travelled. This is an increase of 4 per cent from last year and in total since 2004/5 there has been an 8 per cent rise. The increase in miles travelled can mainly be seen in Manchester (up 23 per cent) and the Docklands Light Railway (up 5 per cent) and this has been because both systems opened
extensions during the period under review. In comparison there was a huge 65 per cent decrease in Blackpool but it should be remembered that last year saw a much reduced tramway operate due to over running upgrade works. The other systems saw very little change.

Passenger revenue across the country increased by 9.1 per cent in 2011/2 (in real terms) with both Manchester Metrolink and the Docklands Light Railway seeing increase in excess of 15 per cent (once again this can be put down to the opening of extensions).

With further extensions on Manchester Metrolink opening in the next year and the relaunched Blackpool Tramway proving very popular with passengers it is highly likely that the 2012/3 figures will once again see increases.

The full statistical data can be downloaded from the DfT website with an Excel spreadsheet giving in depth information all the way back to 1983/4 –
What follows now is a look at the major figures in 2011/2 in comparison with 2010/1.

Blackpool Tramway

Passenger journeys (millions): 1.1 (2010/11 – 1.6)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 3.3 (2010/11 – 4.9)

Average vehicle occupancy: 17

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 1.7 (2010/11 – 2.5)

Docklands Light Railway

Passenger journeys (millions): 86.1 (2010/11 – 78.3)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 455.5 (2010/11 – 414.0)

Average vehicle occupancy: 93

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 105.3 (2010/11 – 90.9)

London Tramlink

Passenger journeys (millions): 28.6 (2010/11 – 27.9)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 148.4 (2010/11 – 144.9)

Average vehicle occupancy: 55

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 21.2 (2010/11 – 19.6)

Manchester Metrolink:

Passenger journeys (millions): 21.8 (2010/11 – 19.2)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 270.5 (2010/11 – 200.8)

Average vehicle occupancy: 59

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 33.7 (2010/11 – 28.1)

Midland Metro

Passenger journeys (millions): 4.9 (2010/11 – 4.8)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 50.9 (2010/11 – 50.4)

Average vehicle occupancy: 30

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 7.4 (2010/11 – 7.2)

Nottingham Express Transit

Passenger journeys (millions): 9.0 (2010/11 – 9.7)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 40.1 (2010/11 – 41.3)

Average vehicle occupancy: 36

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 8.4 (2010/11 – 9.2)

Sheffield Supertram:

Passenger journeys (millions): 15.0 (2010/11 – 15.0)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 97.0 (2010/11 – 97.3)

Average vehicle occupancy: 40

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 15.4 (2010/11 – 15.6)

Tyne and Wear Metro:

Passenger journeys (millions): 37.9 (2010/11 – 39.9)

Passenger kilometres (millions): 303.9 (2010/11 – 315.1)

Average vehicle occupancy: 53

Passenger revenue (at 2011/2 prices): 42.2 (2010/11 – 42.6)

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3 Responses to Light Rail journeys rise again in England

  1. Stats show that the “rejeuvenated” Tyneside Metro continues to thrive. A model for most systems !

  2. WatcherZero says:

    Typo on the Metrolink passengers

  3. David Taylor says:

    it is not surprising that the trams are increasing passenger travel. This is something that most tram buffs knew all along. After the trams were withdrawn in the mid 1900′s passengers forced onto the buses dwindled and bus routes were cut. Now it is full circle and the tram is about to be king again.

    One bad point is Blackpool. On the 14th July I waited 37 mins for a tram on a 10 min service. Three turned up at once causing congestion at the depot terminus because there is no longer a turning circle there. Each tram had to enter the head shunt and the crews changed ends before entering service again. Unfortunatley someone in authority poked his nose in and decided to terminate the first tram at Fishermans walk. This led to passengers being detramed and this took time as most were elderly and not too sprightly. The next tram was then delayed from entering the station until the first tram had finished its shunt movement. The second tram then continued its journey with the passengers and picked up passengers who must have been waiting for an hour. My suggestion to Blackpool Tramways is put in some cross overs so that obstructions can be bypassed by running wrong road.