A public inquiry into the much needed Second City Centre Crossing for Manchester Metrolink has started – with opponents to the scheme arguing that it is only being considered to “introduce congestion charging by the back door”. Other objections heard so far have been from businesses situated on the proposed line who are concerned about the disruption it will cause and also oppose any fixtures being attached to their buildings.
With the major increase in services through the City Centre as the Metrolink system continues to expand it has been a long held ambition to have a second line across the City which would not only enable more services to be run but would also – hopefully – mean that if there was any disruption in the City Centre it would not bring the whole system to a complete standstill as it does now. The line would leave the current City Centre line at St Peter’s Square – which will see major redevelopment and a larger tram stop – travelling down Princess Street, Cross Street and Corporation Street before rejoining the current line
just before Victoria. A new stop will also be built at Exchange Square.
The incredible claim that the only reason they wish to construct the second city centre crossing is to introduce congestion charging by the back door was made on the second day of the inquiry by Farid Mazloomian during cross examination. Mr Mazloomian has a business on the proposed route and is obviously concerned that the construction of the line will have an adverse affect on his business. However his claim that because commuters had to pay for tram tickets and because the tram uses electricity this was in effect introducing congestion charging seems fanciful at best and it is something which was strenuously denied by Manchester City Council during the hearing.
It is hoped that if approved construction of the line would begin by the end of this year and take around three years to complete with trams running from 2016.