Manchester Metrolink is encouraging passengers to properly plan their journey today, as fewer trams are in operation across the network.
Due to a shortage of vehicles and ongoing engineering works after 43 trams were found to have been damaged and thus “can’t be used” during routine overnight maintenance checks, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has confirmed that it will be running a ‘Sunday timetable’ today.
A 12-minute service is in place, with only single trams operating, meaning disruptions are expected due to less capacity.
TfGM said the disruption is set to continue for some time, with a statement released also announcing that the reduced service will be in place “until further notice”.
The statement also confirmed that further checks on other vehicles are continuing, and that the Metrolink operator is “working as quickly as possible” to bring the trams back into service and identify the infrastructure fault that has caused the damage.
Due to the shortage in services, TfGM has said that Metrolink ticket acceptance is in place on local commercial bus and train services instead.
Providing more of an insight into the situation, Alex Cropper – Interim Head of Operations at TfGM – said: “The operator has had to launch a much-reduced service after finding damage to over 40 trams during overnight maintenance and we’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to people’s journey today.
“Engineers are now carrying out inspections to identify what has caused the damage – but given the size of the network, this might take some time.
“I’d like to reassure everyone that we are working extremely hard – in already very challenging circumstances – to resolve this issue, but it will have an impact on both the frequency and capacity available on the network.
“Staff will be out to support passengers, and we have put ticket acceptance in place across the network so customers can use local bus and train services to make their journey.”
TfGM has vowed to keep people updated throughout the day, but has encouraged passengers to plan their journeys in advance and, if they can, “consider walking, cycling, or using other modes of transport” instead.
Passengers must wear a face covering, unless exempt, if using the Metrolink network.
Today’s shortened timetable also runs in parallel to ‘improvement works’ on the network this week, with no trams operating between Piccadilly and Eccles while works take place until 31 July, and additionally, work at Victoria Station means trams on the East Didsbury and Rochdale lines will not stop at Exchange Square, and will be diverted to Shudehill and Market Street instead.
Manchester Metrolink has also been experiencing a large amount of staff absences in recent weeks due to COVID-related circumstances, with one in five of the network’s workforce said to be off in mid-July.
“Currently just under 20% of the workforce are absent, which is having an impact on the number of services we are able to run,” TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said on 15 July.
“We’re sorry for any delays, but hope passengers understand and bear with us at this time.”
Featured Image – TfGM