23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 15-01-2015 01:00

      Friday 07, March 2014

      Continuing Metrolink delays forces passengers away

      DELAYS: Metrolink users at the final straw with delays


      AS VICTORIA Station begins its £44m redevelopment, which is due to be completed in early 2015, continuing delays on the Bury and Rochdale lines are now forcing passengers to rethink their daily commutes.


      The 170-year-old train station’s refurbishment, which began in April 2013 as a result of being named in the top three of Britain’s worst Category B interchange stations, currently only operates a single line tram service whilst under construction, due to safety reasons, and this has created severe disruption to services running though Victoria.


      But some Metrolink passengers have now reached the end of the line with the Greater Manchester tram service because of the latest delays, and this has forced commuters, like Ryan Williams, into considering alternative modes of transport.

      VIDEO: Journey from Shudehill through to Victoria station, which is now under construction.


      Mr Williams, 25, from Oldham, commutes to work on the Rochdale/East Didsbury line every week and up until the construction at Victoria began, he said that Metrolink ‘all in all isn’t that bad’, but he has since changed his views.


      “Prior to the Victoria closure last month, the Rochdale/Didsbury line was okay,” Mr Williams said.


      “But in the first week of the Victoria closure I was nearly an hour late home each day which is frustrating because I have a seven-month-old daughter who I barely get to see before her bedtime now.


      “So I am now considering driving again, if the delays continue.”


      LONG WAIT: Metrolink passengers delayed at St Peter's Square (Picture taken by Ryan Williams via Twitter).


      Mr Williams revealed that reusing the car would be a cheaper option to the tram as he would save £4 per month (car = £70 per month / tram = £74 per month), but price wouldn’t be the deciding factor in his final decision, as poor communication from Metrolink is a more pressing issue.


      “The price of petrol and parking wouldn’t be a problem, the worse bit is Metrolink’s problem management,” he continued.


      “Their communication is poor and they rarely have staff about to help, but when they are there, they are clueless.


      “So because of this also, I think more people will defect to driving because there is no good alternative service.”


      MISSING: Metrolink staff at Freehold stop are nowhere to be seen (Picture taken by Ryan Williams via Twitter).


      Mr Williams said he will wait until May (this year) before he decides on whether to continue using the Metrolink, but Dave Kenyon, 36, from Whitefield, seems to have already made up his mind. 

      “I’m looking at buying a moped,” Mr Kenyon said.


      “There are nine months of line closures at Victoria so this will only compound the problems for commuters, so I am looking at buying a moped because, due to the distance I travel, a bus would take too long.”


      Mr Kenyon, who travels to work on the Bury/Altrincham line, said he was at his final straw with Metrolink and later claimed that the service was ‘overpriced’ and the staff were ‘rude’.


      “I pay £100 per month for my tram ticket and the service, quite frankly, is a joke." he added.


      Metrolink issued a statement in response to the early delays at Victoria which said: “The single line operation through Victoria is a significant change to the Metrolink network and comes with operational changes and adjustments that will take time to properly bed in.


      “At these times we worked tirelessly to ensure any disruption was minimised for customers, and we provided prompt service information to help passengers make informed decisions on their journey options.

      “We will of course continue to do this to a high standard throughout the project.”


      The thought of tram users returning to their cars, or even busses, would ultimately be a backward step for Metrolink as one of their initial aims was to reduce traffic congestion in Manchester City centre.


      But Transport for Greater Manchester Metrolink director, Peter Cushing, insists the Victoria project will benefit the City and Metrolink in the future.


      “The Victoria Metrolink stop transformation will not only improve passenger facilities, but also allow us to run more services through the station and across the tram network as Metrolink expansion continues," Mr Cushing said.


      VISION: Projected outlook for Victoria Station following its reconstruction (Picture via @_JMP Twitter account).


      “We’ve considered these changes very carefully and they provide customers with the most effective, safest and least disruptive option.


      “Metrolink already takes millions of car journeys off local roads every year and this project will allow even more people to leave their cars behind and take the tram.


      “I’d like to thank our customers for bearing with us during this exciting project.”


      Despite the recent disruption, how do you rate the Metrolink service overall?


      Take part in the poll below.

      By Liam McCallion