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On the right track - Metrolink boss defends much criticised system
IT’S not only moaning about the weather that seems to be a British pastime.
Those who use it rarely pass up an opportunity to criticise public transport and while it’s a completely different system, Metrolink seems to be attracting the sort of cynicism once reserved for British Rail.
Messenger recently ran a story about tram delays on the Altrincham line caused by problems in other parts of the network - problems caused by icy weather.
We asked readers to share their views about tram travel and our contributors were unanimously scathing.
One describing Metroliink as “an embarrassment to Manchester.” Another, David Rolfe, described the service as “an absolute joke.”
A former regular tram user said the system was “badly managed.”
But Metrolink director Peter Cushing defended the system and said Metrolink has been a model for other light rail systems around the world.
“I spend a lot of time talking to people from not just the UK but from the rest of Europe and worldwide and they’re constantly asking us how we did that and how we did that.
They look at what we’ve done in such a short space of time and they think it’s a remarkable achievement.
“Every light rail system in the world has problems as does every rail company per se. But we are getting better and better at how we make the system perform and we work constantly and very hard on things that come up on a daily basis.”
Mr Cushing said improvements are being made all the time, from an increase in the number of trams to more customer services staff. He said a tram management system.
will be introduced across the whole network over the next 18 months and this will allow more vehicles to run at any one time.
Mr Cushing said the TMS would make the system more reliable.
As a commuter I have first hand experience of tram delays caused by wintry weather freezing the overhead power lines. The company runs ice breaker trams through the night in a bid to keep the lines free from frost.
But Mr Cushing said more is to be done to fight the effects of the winter weather.
He said: “We’ve increased the number of ice breaker trams so we can run them more frequently and on top of that we’re looking at a coating on the overhead line - particularly where we get out of the city.”
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