A four million increase in journeys to 40 million in the year to September has been attributed to the February opening of the second city crossing.
The 1.3km route through Manchester city centre runs from the stop at St Peter’s Square, along Cross Street, to Exchange Square and Victoria, and is part of Metrolink’s ‘big bang’ expansion programme.
In July, the joint venture between Keolis and Amey began, which saw a takeover of operating and maintaining the network in a seven-year contract, valued at £647.5m if extended to 11 years. The previous operator was RATP Group from 2011 until 2017. The venture is set to provide a raft of improvements ranging from job opportunities through to increased security across the 60 mile, seven-line network. Metrolink has said that the joint venture will see more passengers using the network in future.
Danny Vaughan, head of Metrolink, said: “It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen continued growth in line with our investment in the network. We now run more trams to more places, connecting more people than ever before with jobs, training, retail and leisure opportunities.”
Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TGFM committee, said: “Without a doubt this year has been one of the best and most exciting in Metrolink’s 25-year history. We saw a new line open through the heart of the city centre, celebrated the network’s Silver Jubilee, appointed a new operator and started work on the Trafford Park Line.”
The record comes as the fare freeze on Metrolink, in place for three years, is set to end in January, with a 6% price rise as transport bosses look to reclaim “revenue foregone” since January 2014.