Metrolink passengers now have access to real-time service information at city centre stops, keeping them right up to speed with when the next tram will arrive.
New displays have been installed at the Shudehill, Market Street, Piccadilly Gardens, Piccadilly station, St Peter’s Square and Deansgate-Castlefield stops following the roll-out of a new tram management system through the city centre.
They show when the next tram will arrive (and its destination) as well as when the next two trams are due, and will also be used to provide other passenger information, such as during special events or disruption to services.
Their arrival means everything is now in place for the Mosley Street stop to close from the start of services on Saturday 18 May, in a long-planned move that will improve journey times, reliability and capacity on the network.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “We know that passengers want to be kept informed at all times and providing real-time information on when their next tram will arrive is crucial to that.
“In order to provide that, we’ve had to change the way the network operates behind the scenes. That’s been a massive challenge, especially on a ‘live’ network, but we are now starting to see the fruits of that labour through these new displays.
“The new tram management system is being rolled out in phases and once that process is complete, passengers across the network will benefit from this kind of information. In the future, the aim is to provide this at their fingertips too: on smartphones and tablets.
“I am sure the information these displays provide will be of great benefit as people make their way around the network, but this is just one of the many passenger-focused benefits being provided by the expansion programme.
“The new tram management system will enable us to run more trams, more frequently and in more effective ways than before, particularly when the network is at its busiest or in response to any disruption.
“It’s a significant step forward in our journey to providing a truly customer-focused network.”
Mosley Street is the first stop where all Altrincham-bound services – which head from either Bury (via Market Street) or Piccadilly (via Piccadilly Gardens) – converge in the city centre.
As a result, a new display has been installed in the Mosley Street area showing real-time information on where to catch the next Altrincham service – either Piccadilly Gardens or Market Street.
The new displays at both of these stops – the nearest two for Altrincham-bound passengers who currently use Mosley Street – will also show when and where the next available Altrincham tram will arrive.
Once Mosley Street has closed, passengers travelling to St Werburgh’s Road should head to the Market Street stop while passengers travelling to Eccles or MediaCityUK should head to the Piccadilly Gardens stop.
The closure will remove a bottleneck in the city centre created by the location of the stop, which will improve journey times and protect the reliability of services through the city as the network undergoes a £1.4 billion expansion.
It will also allow the new M5000 vehicles to run as double trams across the entire network; only the older T68 vehicles can serve Mosley Street as double trams because of its split-level platform.
A single tram can carry more than 200 passengers. Running two trams together, as a ‘double tram’, provides capacity for more than 400 passengers.
Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “Mosley Street only serves trams in one direction, and is the only split-level platform left on the network, which means only the older trams can call there as double trams.
“As the network has expanded, this has presented a bottleneck in the city centre, and also means we can’t run our new trams as doubles on services to Altrincham, Eccles, Chorlton and, in the near future, East Didsbury.
“Closing the stop removes both problems and also offers journey time savings, protects the reliability of services and opens up the immediate area to improve pedestrian access to local businesses.
“It also means, in future, we will be able to run more double trams through the city centre, which will provide more room for passengers.”
The closure of the Mosley Street stop has previously been approved by TfGMC, the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation following a thorough consultation by the DfT between November 2010 and February 2011.
Peter added: “We fully appreciate that removing any stop on the network will have an effect but Mosley Street is very close to Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street and the additional displays will help people get to the right stop to catch the next available Altrincham-bound service.”
Click here to view closure leaflet & map