METROLINK passengers will be offered face masks, hand sanitiser and flexible “Clipper” tickets as the service prepares to run double trams once every 10 minutes.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham wants to establish a “safety first” culture on public transport after the government made face masks and coverings compulsory for commuters.

From Monday staff at busy Metrolink stations have been handing out face masks while hand sanitizer will be provided at key bus stops – and eventually tram stops too.

Speaking at his weekly press conference on coronavirus, Mr Burnham said: “The government guidance has changed and we want that culture to be clearly established of safety first on Metrolink.

“It’s to get the travelling public in the habit of wearing a face mask or covering which is now required.”

Next Monday the Clipper ticket will be introduced, allowing customers to buy a book of tickets and use them when they need to.

The ticket carries the same name as purpose as the cards used on the Greater Manchester bus system between 1979 and 2004.

Mr Burnham added: “It is intended to help people manage a working week which might be mixing working from home with working in the city centre.”

Tram frequency will also increase to 10-minute intervals from on the same day as the Clipper ticket comes into effect.

Double trams will run on every service to ensure there is enough space for passengers to observe social distancing.

Mr Burnham said it would have been difficult to bring more frequent trams sooner “because of the practicalities of bringing staff back to get teh service back up to that level”.

The new measures mark the launch of Transport for Greater Manchester’s “Safely Reopening GM” campaign, which focuses on providing safe public transport, workplaces and public spaces as lockdown eases.

Last week the Messennger reported how 13 bus services, scaled back because of the coronavirus crisis, were being restored across Trafford.

Eleven routes operated by Diamond in the borough reverted from running every two hours, at present, back to hourly, also on Monday.

These included the 260, 261, 262, 272, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286 and 287 services, which include the buses linking Sale and Sale West, Partington and Ashton-on-Mersey, as well as Wythenshaw, Stretford, Eccles and Altrincham, and the buses connecting Altrincham with Oldfield Brow, Hale Moss, Warburton Timperley and Bowdon Vale.

Several of their services running between the Trafford Centre and Bolton, Wigan and Swinton were also stepped up.