Sunday, January 07, 2007


Action Update: Potential BIG problems with Metrolink

I share the worries of a number of local residents, who have contacted me saying theat they're getting quite worried about the closure of Metrolink, which is happening in the Spring to replace the tracks. The whole line will be shut for months, but nobody seems to know anything about it. I have written a letter to Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), and this is what it says:

Dear Sir / Madam

In my role as a local Liberal Democrat campaigner, I have been contacted by a number of local residents expressing their concerns over the cessation of Metrolink Services for major engineering works this Spring and Summer.

Whilst we welcome the long overdue replacement of tracks, we are very concerned on a number of fronts.

Many local residents know very little about the proposed closures. The lack of publicity on your website, on Metrolink trams and stations, and in the form of direct mail to passengers is disturbing, and is not allowing passengers enough time to find alternative travel arrangements.

People need to know when the Metrolink will stop running, how long it is stopping for, what benefits passengers will see when it re-opens, and crucially, what alternative arrangements will be put in place to help them get around.

There is confusion and a lack of information about how alternative travel arrangements will impact on local residents. Obviously many residents rely on the Metrolink to get to and from work, or to access shopping, leisure, health and other services near to the network. Depriving them of the Metrolink will be a major blow, although I appreciate that urgent work is needed. However, we are concerned that, again, no information has been forthcoming to local people about alternatives.

Will replacement buses run?

Will fares on such buses be comparable to the Metrolink, or to buses?

Will replacement buses run to every station? If they are to run between every station and be the same price as a Metrolink ticket, passengers will naturally turn to existing (quicker and cheaper) bus services.

What extra buses will run on existing routes?

What provision is being made for Metrolink season ticket holders?

Many local residents are now getting very anxious. Hundreds of people will have to find alternative arrangements, and they need to make them now. Provision on Bury New Road in particular is a concern of mine, given that the existing major bus route (the 135) runs down Bury Old Road, and many on Bury New Road rely on Prestwich Metrolink station.

Please can you provide me with answers to my questions, and make such information available to the general public on your website and elsewhere. Without it, I fear a real problem for commuters, anger, annoyance and dissatisfaction for the people in my Ward, and a huge increase in cars on the roads.

Yours Faithfully,

Richard Baum (St Mary's Ward Liberal Democrats)

This issue needs sorting quickly. I will keep the pressure on, and keep you informed if I get a response.


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