With the England wide lockdown coming to an end from Wednesday 2nd December, transport bosses in Manchester are seeking to reassure any potential passengers on Metrolink that it will be safe to travel with a number of safety measures in place. Although Manchester will be in tier 3 when the tiers are reintroduced there is still an expectation that passenger numbers will increase and this publicity campaign is seeking to make sure they know the measures which are being taken.
In the press release, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Public safety has, and will remain, my absolute priority as we continue to navigate our way out of this pandemic. Despite the region still being under restrictions, many people still need to use public transport and will want to get out and give retailers a much-needed boost, and we know concerns over cleanliness and safety can be a real barrier that prevents people from travelling. Public transport is safe due to the measures already in place, but these are extra steps we are taking to further boost confidence and limit the spread of the virus – which are vitally important if we are to get ourselves back on track. Despite the end of the national lockdown, infection rates across Greater Manchester are still high, so it’s important that we continue to work together to stop the spread, as this will ultimately help ease restrictions sooner. If you use public transport, please remember the basic rules – such as wearing a face covering and sanitising your hands – when using our buses, trains and trams.”
On Metrolink the following measures have been introduced:
- A team of “trambassadors” – dedicated to helping people travel safely. They will speak to passengers about the latest guidance and safety measures, hand-out free face coverings and hand sanitisers and encourage off peak travel and contactless payment offerings
- Cleaning of all trams and tramstops with hospital-grade anti-viral products will be increased by 500 hours a week to coincide with the anticipated increase in passengers. New hand sanitiser dispensers will be installed at the busiest stops.
- National hidden disability scheme to be launched to allow staff to provide extra support and to give them the confidence to travel safely
- The Greater Manchester TravelSafe Partnership will held additional days of action reminding passengers that if you’re not exempt and don’t wear a face covering you could be stopped from boarding and be fined £200.
The first of the new 27 M5000 trams is due to enter service before the end of the year while the second is due be delivered within the same timeframe. This will help Metrolink to run extra doubles to aid social distancing. Currently two in every three services is said to be a double with all available trams being used.
- Similar campaigns have been launched on Nottingham Express Transit and the West Midlands Metro to remind passengers on how to travel safely during the pandemic and that they should wait for the next tram if it arrives too full.