Service cuts on the way for Supertram

A new timetable is to be introduced on Stagecoach Supertram from Sunday 28th January 2018 but instead of the usual service enhancement you expect from a new timetable this will see fewer trams run each hour off-peak on the Blue and Yellow routes. The decision has been taken because the current timetable has become increasingly difficult to operate with an increase in road traffic over the years causing delays to services.

The exact details of the new timetable have not yet been publicly revealed (this will follow in mid-December) but Supertram have given the headline changes in a special flyer:

Monday to Friday (Blue & Yellow)

Until 0700 – trams every 20 minutes

0700-0930 – trams every 10 minutes

0930-1600 – trams every 12 minutes

1600-1900 – trams every 10 minutes

Until end of service – trams every 20 minutes

Saturday (Blue & Yellow)

Until 0900 – trams every 20 minutes

Until 1900 – trams every 12 minutes

Until end of service – trams every 20 minutes

The main changes are during the off-peak service during the day where the previous 10 minute frequency is replaced by a tram every 12 minutes. This decision has been taken due to the increased amount of traffic on the roads which causes delays to the service on a frequent basis. Its unfortunate that this is actually given as a reason in the flyer as it doesn’t do a great deal for the argument of light rail in helping to reduce congestion. The Purple route will only see minor changes and no major changes are seen on Sundays either.

As well as a lower service frequency trams will be given longer to traverse the full route – or as Stagecoach Supertram put it a more realistic journey time – and there will be longer recovery times at termini to enable trams to return to their timetabled slot more quickly when delays occur.

One positive from the new timetable is that the morning peak increased frequency will start earlier than currently. This timetable has also been designed to allow for the tram-train service to Rotherham to easily be fitted in without any further changes from autumn 2018 (its current date for introduction).

Full details of the new timetable will be released on Monday 18th December and during November a number of drop-in events will be held. Further details of these can be found on the Stagecoach Supertram website.

The introduction of the extra Citylink trams (only four are required for the service to Rotherham) was meant to increase capacity on the Supertram network and it remains to be seen how this will be achieved with a lower service frequency.

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