As reported late last year the tram service through to Ashton-under-Lyne will be doubled from Monday 28th January with the extension of the MediaCityUK to Etihad Campus service throughout the day. Trams will now run every six minutes to Ashton instead of the current 12 minute frequency – doubling the capacity of this line.
Trial operation of the extended service took place on a couple of occasions in the latter part of 2018 to check that the additional trams didn’t cause any major traffic issues and that traffic light phasing was correct. With no major issues discovered in these trials it has now been agreed the increased service can begin. It is expected that the average waiting time will now be halved to three minutes which should make Metrolink a more attractive transport option.
Mayor Andy Burnham commented: “With extra capacity, reduced waiting times and a simpler and more flexible zonal ticketing system, it’s now easier than ever for communities in Tameside and east Manchester to use the tram. Congestion and air quality are two of the biggest issues facing the region and, by introducing measures such as this that reinforce Metrolink as a strong alternative to the car, we are working to tackle them head-on. The extra trams also complement the development of the new interchange at Ashton-under-Lyne – due to open in 2020 – which further supports the work we are doing to ensure we have a world-class, fit-for-the-future public transport network across Greater Manchester.”
The new service will run during the same times as the current MediaCityUK to Etihad Campus service with Mondays to Fridays seeing the service operate between 0700 and 2000, Saturdays between 0800 and 1830 with no service on Sundays (leaving the Ashton line with a standard 12 minute frequency).