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GMPTE Metrolink Manchester
Member Name: hunnybabyuk
Advantages: Frequent & spacious trains, not usually very late,
Disadvantages: Ticket prices are stupidly high
The Manchester Metrolink is a tram system based in Manchester and is operated by Stagecoach Group PLC on behalf of the Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive (GMPTE). Stagecoach Group PLC are one of the largest public transport operators with bus, coach, train & tram/metro operations across the UK and North America.
Metrolink began operations on 6th April 1992 and operates on 2 lines, the green line operates between Bury & Altrincham and the purple line operates between Piccadilly & Eccles via Salford. Both lines go through the City Centre and theres 37 stations across the network. Trains operate to a high frequency timetable with both lines operating upto every 10 minutes from early morning until late night.
Trains are 2-car type trains, they are spacious and easilly accessable with plenty of room for passengers in wheelchairs or those with puschairs or heavy luggage. They are quite dull looking though, they are plain white with a grey line at the bottom, not very exciting but as part of a multi-million pound investment into the network, GMPTE are scrapping the old trains and getting brand new ones built which will be even more spacious, airy and still have plenty of room inside with 52 seats in each car & 8 tipup seats too. Theres plenty of room for wheelchairs, pushchairs & luggage and during peak periods theres plenty of standing room on the new trains too they are due to enter service shortly. The outside of the trains are very cool, they are extremely eye catching with an all over silver look with a bright yellow front and dots at the side towards the front & rear of the train. This is to make them more eye catching but also helps people with sight problems spot the train too. Bright LED displays are going to be used to display train destinations getting rid of the written boards they currently use.
Stations are basically just a platform, most have small sheltered areas which are good when its raining... quite often in Manchester, but they aren't really sufficent for the amount of people using some of the busy stations i.e. the one at Piccadilly Gardens. Stations are supplied with ticket machines, these are quite old and generally don't give change which can be a nightmare as they don't take cards either. However they are very easy to use, you simply select the ticket type then your destination & it displays the price, simply put in your change and your ticket comes out the bottom. As part of the multi-million pound investment, GMPTE are introducing over 200 NEW ticket machines which will accept coins, notes & credit/debit cards and have a wider selection of options. There will be upto 5 ticket machines at every stop and each station should have 1 'queue buster' machine which is for people in a hurry & will only accept cash to a limited number of popular destinations.
Ticket prices are rediculous, especially for shorter journeys, they can be very expensive theres a range of tickets from singles & returns to day tickets & multi-modal tickets like SystemOne allowing travel on buses & trains aswell as Metrolink. But if it's a shorter journey I would recommend getting a bus, it is likely to be cheaper.
Also as part of the investment, GMPTE are building 4 NEW lines including trains to MediaCityUK in Salford, Oldham & Rochdale, Droylsden
in Tameside and Chorlton in South Manchester. The new lines will double the network size and double the amount of trams on the network to provide even greater access to Metrolink services.
Overall I think the Metrolink is good, trains are generally clean, if not very attractive, they run ontime (usually) and operate to a good timetable with trains regulary, downfall is ticket fares are rediculous & ticket machines are old, they don't give change easilly. But I must say I am looking forward to the improvements which will massively improve what is already a fairly good service.
Summary: A good service which will see a MASSIVE improvement with the multi-million pound investment