The first of 27 new Metrolink trams is set to arrive next week, boosting capacity on the network and providing more space for social distancing.
Once testing and commissioning is complete, the first tram will be put into service before Christmas, with further trams set to arrive every 3-4 weeks after that.
Each new tram will be the M5000 model – the same as the existing fleet – and, once tested and commissioned, the new arrivals will increase capacity on the network by 15%, enabling Metrolink to run more double trams for customers.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Public safety has, and will remain, my absolute priority as we continue to navigate our way out of this pandemic – and these new trams will be vital to helping us provide more capacity on Metrolink when we come out of lockdown and once again focus on building back better from this virus.
“We know concerns over using public transport – including social distancing – can be a real barrier that prevents people from travelling, and measures like this will help restore and build confidence in our networks.
“With infection rates across Greater Manchester still high it’s important that we continue to work together to stop the spread so, if you must use public transport, please remember the basic rules – wear a face covering and sanitise your hands when using our buses, trains and trams.”
The new trams are being funded by the Transforming Cities Fund, and were first announced as part of the Congestion Deal (March 2018), the city-region’s approach for tackling congestion by improving public transport and providing a genuine alternative to driving.
The £72m contract with manufacturer Bombardier Transportation UK and Kiepe Electric was signed in July 2018.
On Thursday, the nation started a four-week lockdown, people are being told to follow the latest government coronavirus regulations and guidance to avoid travelling and stay at home. People can still travel for legally permitted reasons including work, education, caring, medical reasons; visiting shops and other venues that are open and exercise.
If you do have to travel then please consider cycling or walking to your destination if at all possible.
Public transport services are running as usual, though space may be limited due social distancing. TFGM do recommend if you do need to use buses, trains and trams, please plan ahead, allow extra time and consider travelling outside the busier morning and afternoon peak times.
When using public transport, you can do your bit to keep yourself and others safe by:
- Wearing a face covering, including at transport hubs and interchanges, and in taxis and private hire vehicles, unless you are exempt. If you don’t, you may be unable to travel and you could be fined £200.
- Keeping your distance from other passengers where possible.
- Cleaning your hands frequently and carrying hand sanitiser with you.
- Using contactless payment if you can.
TfGM and transport operators across Greater Manchester are doing everything to keep people as safe as possible while travelling and they have put a number of measures in place, including installing hand sanitiser dispensers at interchanges and stations, and regularly disinfecting vehicles, stops, stations and interchanges with hospital-grade, antiviral cleaners.
For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.