Manchester Metrolink could be set for 27 new trams to help reduce overcrowding on the busiest lines of the network as part of a new “Congestion Deal” announced by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester. There would also be the introduction of new pre-peak tickets along with a discount for businesses that agree to implement flexible working.
The “Congestion Deal” is the result of last autumn’s Congestion Conversation where the Mayor sought the views of the public into what the causes and impact of congestion was and any possible solutions. Now developed by Transport for Greater Manchester on behalf of the Mayor the deal will aim to tackle the causes of congestion through transport bodies, businesses and individuals working together across the area.
The overall investment for Metrolink would be £80 million and would see 27 new trams ordered providing space for 4,800 extra passengers and introduced on the network. This would be used to enable further services to be strengthened to doubles. At this stage it is far too early to say what form these new trams would take but the production line of the Bombardier M5000s was ended when 3120 was completed so it remains to be seen if this can easily be restarted. It has today been claimed the new trams would be in service within the next two years which suggests a new round of procurement would not be required.
Employers are also to be given incentives to introduce flexible start and finish times for their workers with the potential introduction of an early bird “pre-peak” ticket as well as a potential group Metrolink discount for businesses that agree to have flexible working.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Congestion is a serious problem in Greater Manchester, which affects people’s health and wellbeing, as well as access to employment and education opportunities. Every week, my Twitter feed and inbox are filled with accounts of the difficulties people experience in travelling to work, dropping the kids off at school or getting to appointments on time. There’s no quick fix or single solution to tackling congestion and it requires a long term approach, but there are things we could be doing better. So I’d like all of Greater Manchester to agree to a congestion deal; transport bodies and businesses will work together to give people real choice about their travel options; whilst Greater Manchester residents must also play their part in the deal by making changes to how and when they travel and by choosing public transport, cycling or walking as an alternative to the car where possible. If everyone does their bit, from businesses to bus operators and from council to commuters, we can work together to reduce congestion and make Greater Manchester an even better place to live and work in the future.”
Away from Metrolink there would also be a £160 million investment in cycling and walking infrastructure, the exploration of a High Occupancy Vehicle lane vehicle and an expanded transport control centre operating 24 hours a day to help improve the flow of people and goods around Greater Manchester and provide real time information.
The proposals will be discussed by leaders from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority on Thursday 29th March.