A message from Transport for Greater Manchester's Metrolink Director, Peter Cushing:
I would like to apologise unreservedly for the level of service that has been provided on the Metrolink network in recent days.
I can fully appreciate how frustrating it must have been for passengers who have had to face disruption over several days, and how angry people are about it – feelings that I wholeheartedly share.
People expect a high level of service when they use the network and in recent days they have had nowhere near that standard.
We planned carefully for what was always going to be a very busy and very challenging period for the network. Several thousand cricket fans were expected to use Metrolink to attend The Ashes at the times of day when it is already at its busiest.
The challenge was to deliver a service that kept regular passengers moving just as much as visitors attending the match.
We provided extra double trams between Piccadilly and Altrincham and from East Didsbury to specifically cater for this additional demand, but several events affected the operational plan.
In short, the whole spectrum of events that can affect the Metrolink network all came to pass in the space of four days. Each was a separate, unconnected incident during the busiest period of the day and each one had considerable knock-on effects for passengers across the network.
On Wednesday, a pensioner tragically died after stepping in to the path of a tram at Freehold. Services on the Oldham-Rochdale line were suspended for several hours.
On Thursday, city centre services were suspended following a collision between a car and tram on Mosley Street. Then there was a fault with an overhead power cable on the Bury line.
On Friday, a police incident on High Street in the city centre, involving a woman threatening to jump from the roof of the Arndale, affected all city centre services and, in turn, the whole network.
On Saturday, a signal failure at Cornbrook caused delays and a points fault affected a tram entering the depot, blocking the Bury line. The track repairs required for the latter unfortunately had an effect on services on Monday morning.
It has been an incredibly challenging period and, at times, we failed to rise to that challenge. We failed to keep passengers informed and support them fully through the disruption, which is unacceptable.
That we have left people wanting at a time when the world was watching Greater Manchester with the arrival of The Ashes has only heightened a deep sense of disappointment.
Together with the operator, MRDL, we will be reviewing every aspect of the past week and will be taking action to improve. We are incredibly proud of the Metrolink network and will be working tirelessly to ensure our passengers can be as well.
If anyone’s journey has been affected in recent days, I would encourage them to contact our Customer Relations team with details by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.