Tameside tram travellers are set for a welcome boost with the number of services on the Ashton line to double next week.
From Monday 28 January, trams will run every six minutes on the line instead of the current 12, doubling capacity.
The move will halve the average waiting time to just three minutes, making Metrolink a more attractive transport option and enabling more people to access leisure, educational, cultural and employment opportunities.
Boosting the number of services to meet demand supports the aims of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s ‘Congestion Deal’. Launched last year, the deal includes a series of measures to offer people more choice in their transport options and incentivise them to change their travel behaviour.
Encouraging more people to take up tram travel will also contribute towards the aims of the region’s Clean Air Plan. The plan is currently under development and will set out how we can tackle harmful levels of roadside air pollution across the city-region.
Mayor Andy Burnham said: “With extra capacity, reduced waiting times and a simpler and more flexible zonal ticketing system, it’s now easier than ever for communities in Tameside and east Manchester to use the tram.
“Congestion and air quality are two of the biggest issues facing the region and, by introducing measures such as this that reinforce Metrolink as a strong alternative to the car, we are working to tackle them head-on.
“The extra trams also complement the development of the new interchange at Ashton-under-Lyne – due to open in 2020 – which further supports the work we are doing to ensure we have a world-class, fit-for-the-future public transport network across Greater Manchester.”
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “This is fantastic news and will make it even easier and more convenient for everyone – from local residents, students and workers to shoppers visiting the borough – to take the tram. It also supports our wider work to promote more sustainable travel.
“This investment comes at a great time for Ashton as we finalise our once in a generation Vision Tameside programme creating a new college and library, and look forward with excitement to the building of the Ashton Transport Interchange.”