Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has asked Transport for Greater Manchester and operator KeolisAmey to submit monthly reports on the performance of Metrolink, following criticism of the way incidents and delays have been handled and communicated.
Of greatest concern recently has been the overhead power line issues that caused severe delays and discomfort for passengers on 19 and 20 February in the evening peak travel period, a report into which has now been completed and made public.
The monthly reports will provide statistics on performance across the Metrolink network, including punctuality and cancellations, giving the public a means of monitoring service standards on an ongoing basis.
Burnham has asked for immediate improvements on customer communications so that they are as quick and accurate as possible across all channels, including social media, websites, on-stop announcements and drivers or staff updating passengers on trams and stops.
He said: “The Metrolink system is a great asset to our city region and we should all be proud of it. However, it is not immune from technical problems, which at times have been serious breakdowns and which have not been handled as well as they might.
“On this basis I have asked TfGM to publish the report which has been done so that everyone can find out the facts for themselves. I have also asked that they now publish a monthly report detailing operational performance.
“I am grateful to all Metrolink staff who have worked hard to correct recent problems and deal with the bad weather. But, as Mayor, it is my job to ensure Metrolink is accountable to its paying public and that is why I am introducing this new performance regime.”
The first monthly performance report will be published at the end of April.
Stephen Rhodes, customer director at TfGM, said: “TfGM is absolutely committed to keeping Greater Manchester on the move. We are taking steps to enhance the customer information we provide and will be working closely with our partners to ensure customers are kept up to speed when there are issues.”
TfGM said that its control room will become a 24-hour operation in the near future.
The first meeting of the Mayor’s transport board is set to take place on 26 March. Members will include the Mayor, Sir Richard Leese and representatives of TfGM, Highways England, Network Rail, Northern Rail, Transpennine Express, Stagecoach, First, Arriva, Metrolink, Transport for the North and the Department for Transport.
The board will provide the Mayor with the opportunity to scrutinise the performance of all transport operators in the region. This will include rail and bus operators, who currently are not required to formally report on any delays or issues at a Greater Manchester level.