Lockdown Tram Changes: Improved Frequencies But Early Finish Remains

Metrolink trams with social distancing measures in place to run every 12 minutes

From the 26 May (a date that many Manchester United fans will have fond memories of), Metrolink trams will see improved frequencies. Since the imposition of lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, frequencies were cut to every 20 minutes due to lack of funding. For evening journeys, this also meant an early finish.

As of this coming Tuesday, all Metrolink lines will have a 12 minute frequency. For the Ashton-under-Lyne to Eccles route, this would be a return to its previous frequency, though little change for passengers boarding between Rochdale and Shaw. The early evening finish will be retained for the time being.

Peak hour restrictions return

On the flip side of this coming Tuesday’s changes will be the restoration of peak hour restrictions. Since the lockdown was announced, holders of ENCTS Senior Citizens’ passes and standard ENCTS Disability Concessionary Passes had been able to travel free of charge before 9.30 am on weekdays.

From Tuesday, Senior Citizens will have to pay full fare again on buses, trains and trams before 9.30 am. For holders of standard Disability Concessionary Passes, half fare. For holders of ENCTS Concessionary Plus passes, there are no changes.

On Metrolink trams, the free travel scheme for NHS employees will finish on Bank Holiday Monday.

Staying safe on public transport

As we said in our previous blog post on social distancing, avoiding public transport is hailed as The Default Option for anyone going about their daily business. This means cycling, walking or driving as your first mode of choice.

Should you catch the bus, tram or train, Transport for Greater Manchester has suggested the following measures:

  • Wear a face covering. You can either make your own, buy some bog standard ones, or have a bespoke set of face coverings with a favourite image or pattern;
  • Keep two metres apart from your fellow passengers, whether queueing for your bus, or waiting for your train or tram on the platform;
  • Wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser regularly. Better still, carry your own little bottle of hand sanitiser. This is especially true on the bus, as you need to hold on to the vertical bars whilst alighting. Or the bannister, when taking the stairs;
  • Use contactless payment methods or smart card ticketing (System One or GetMeThere passes or ENCTS Concessionary passes). If your usual operator has a mobile app and/or allows mobile payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay), make use of these features.
  • Please tender the exact fare if paying by cash. Most operators offer contactless payment methods, though some smaller companies might not have such facilities on their buses. If taking the train, please make use of the ticket machines at staffed or unstaffed stations.

According to a TfGM survey that was conducted on the 18 May, only 12% of Metrolink passengers wore a face covering. This is up from 10.3% on the 11 May, and 6.9% on the 04 May.

If you have any further queries, give Transport for Greater Manchester a call on 0161 244 1000, or visit www.tfgm.com. You can also follow their Twitter page which is @OfficialTfGM. Lines are open from 7am to 8pm on weekdays, and 8am to 8pm on Bank Holidays and weekends.

SV and GMT face mask image
Just the thing for braving the bus to work: a Greater Manchester Transport 1970s moquette mask designed by yours truly. Made in England by Contrado Imaging Ltd, London.

S.V., 23 May 2020.

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