GMITA to decide on trams carrying bikes

Allowing bikes to be carried safely on trams would cost Metrolink at least £3m in modifications to carriages, according to a new review.

Transport leaders will consider the findings of a study into whether bikes could be allowed on trams next week.

Under the existing conditions of carriage, only fully-encased folding bikes are allowed on board.

Cycling groups and environmentalists lobbied Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority to consider a change in the rules.

On Friday 19 November, the findings of an in-depth review, carried out by a cross-party working group, will be reported to the authority's policy and resources committee.

The modifications required involve seats being removed to allow four bikes for each tram across the network's vehicles.

A survey of passengers' opinions will also be tabled at the members meeting. GMITA said the survey found that more than half thought bikes should be allowed on trams in principle and 7% were in favour of removing enough seats to carry four bikes on each tram.

GMITA added that patronage surveys also found that there is no long period of low-demand across the network that could be considered "off-peak" on any day of the week.

Councillors will hear that there are several "mini peaks" throughout the day, while regular major events in evenings and at weekends also lead to high demand.

Cllr Keith Whitmore, chairman of the policy and resources committee, said: "This review has not been about banning cyclists from Metrolink – indeed, there are cycle-parking facilities across the network, with more to come. It has been about whether bikes can safely be taken on to trams.

"The working group has taken a long, hard look at this issue, considered a great deal of information, including the safety implications, and asked tram passengers for their views, as well as cycle and environmental groups.

"The process has been open and thorough, with the benefit of views from all sides of the debate. When we make our decision on Friday I am satisfied that we will be doing so based on as much high quality information as possible.

"The committee now needs to consider the working group's findings before this important matter can be resolved."

Two authority members from each of the three main parties made up the working group, which invited comments from tram users, cycling organisations and the ten district authorities.

Representations were made by Love Your Bike – Friends of the Earth, the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, the Cyclist Touring Club, the Disability Design Reference Group and the operator, Stagecoach Metrolink.

More than 1,000 passengers were surveyed. The results concluded:

  • 56% were in favour of allowing bikes on trams in principle
  • 43% were in favour of seats being removed as a result
  • 35% were in favour of removing enough seats for two bikes per tram.
  • 7% were in favour of removing enough seats to carry four bikes per tram
  • 17% of people surveyed identified themselves as cyclists

Copies of the committee report and supporting documents can be found on the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority website

Your Comments

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I like the look of the modified metrolink image above. What a great idea to run carriages on a trailer. It saves the need for laying tram tracks. This technique would instantly remove the unnecessary roadwork problem on Ashton New Road. Hey wait a minute, why dont GMPTE just stick with buses that already run down Ashton New Road?

By De Pomphrey

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