The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, has taken steps to ensure a report on Metrolink performance is published every month as part of a new drive to improve the passenger experience.
The report will provide statistics on performance across the Metrolink network – including punctuality and cancellations – and give the public a means of monitoring service standards on an on-going basis.
The intervention follows various incidents on the network including overhead line problems and signalling failures which caused chaos to thousands of passengers in two separate incidents last month.
After the second incident, Burnham demanded urgent talks with the operator.
An initial report looking at the overhead line issues which affected thousands of passengers on 19 and 20 February has also been published. The report looks at the incident, the operational response, customer communication and what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of similar events in the future.
Following shortcomings identified with communications on the day, the Mayor has asked Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Metrolink operator, KeolisAmey Metrolink, to make immediate improvements to customer communications so that they are as quick and accurate as possible across all channels – including social media, websites, on-stop announcements and drivers/staff updating passengers on trams and stops.
Andy Burnham said: “The Metrolink system is a great asset to our city region and we should all be proud of it. However, it is not immune from technical problems, which at times have been serious breakdowns and which have not been handled as well as they might.
“What happened earlier this month is a clear example of a serious incident bringing services to a standstill, which could have been far better explained to customers.
“On this basis I have asked TfGM to publish the report which has been done so that everyone can find out the facts for themselves. I have also asked that they now publish a monthly report detailing operational performance.
“I am grateful to all Metrolink staff who have worked hard to correct recent problems and deal with the bad weather. But, as Mayor, it is my job to ensure Metrolink is accountable to its paying public and that is why I am introducing this new performance regime.”
The report into the events of the 19 and 20 February has now been published online. Monthly performance reports will start being published from the end of April.
Stephen Rhodes, Customer Director at TfGM, said: “TfGM is absolutely committed to keeping Greater Manchester on the move. We are taking steps to enhance the customer information we provide and will be working closely with our partners to ensure customers are kept up to speed when there are issues.”
TfGM’s control room will become a 24hr operation in the near future, which will mean TfGM can deliver fast and accurate updates whatever the time of day or night.
The first meeting of the Mayor’s Transport Board is also set to take place later this month, on 26 March. The Transport Board members will include the Mayor, Sir Richard Leese and representatives of TfGM, Highways England, Network Rail, Northern Rail, Transpennine Express, Stagecoach, First, Arriva, Metrolink, Transport for the North and the Department of Transport.
The board will provide the Mayor with the opportunity to scrutinise the performance of all transport operators in the region and to hold them to account on behalf of the travelling public when necessary. This will include the rail and bus operators, who currently are not required to formally report on any delays or issues at a Greater Manchester level.