A NEW plan is to be put in place to reduce future disruption of Manchester's Metrolink.

The proverbial kick up the backside comes after severe disruption to trams on the Manchester-to-Bury line on February 19 and 20, when other parts of the network were also hit by long delays, leaving thousands of passengers angry and frustrated.

The chaos was caused by problems with overhead lines.

Under the new plan, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham will be provided with monthly reports on Metrolink's performance to iron out potential difficulties and problems which affected the network last month.

A report into the incident, reflected on the operational response, customer communication and what steps to be taken to reduce the risk of similar events in the future.

Mr Burnham asked Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Metrolink operator, KeolisAmey Metrolink, to make immediate improvements to customer communications, so that information was quick and as accurate as possible across all channels — including social media, websites, on-stop announcements and drivers/staff updating passengers on trams and stops.

The new monthly performance reports will include public feedback on issues including punctuality and cancellations and help give the public a means of monitoring service standards on an on-going basis.

Mr 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 last 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 it now publishes 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.”

Stephen Rhodes, customer director at TfGM, said: "We are 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 24-hour operation in the near future, which will mean we can deliver fast and accurate updates whatever the time of day or night."