Sunday signalled the busiest in Metrolink’s history, with more than 114,000 people boarding the tram – many to watch or take part in the Manchester Marathon.
People from as far as Plymouth to the Scottish Highlands flocked to the city-region for this year’s event, with the Metrolink network, particularly the Altrincham and East Didsbury lines, providing essential connections around the various milestones of the course. The busiest period was between 7 and 8am, just prior to the race beginning, and after its culmination between 1pm and 3pm.
Old Trafford and Trafford Bar, near to the start and end point of the race route were the most frequented as well as Deansgate-Castlefield, where the race passed at the five-mile stage.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) worked closely with the organisers to influence travel behaviour of participants and spectators beforehand and put comprehensive plans in place to ensure there were enough trams to meet demand. Advance travel advice appeared across social media, the website, within participant guides and in the media, with dedicated staff at Metrolink stops along the key routes available to help people find their way.
People also made great use of local park and ride services promoted ahead of the event, particularly at East Didsbury, to avoid getting stuck in essential road closures and missing the action.
Head of Metrolink Danny Vaughan said: “We are extremely proud to have supported the marathon once again, this time in record numbers.
“Events like these are key to supporting Greater Manchester’s, and our public services’, economic recovery from the pandemic.
“The passenger numbers seen on Sunday speak for themselves as to just how essential Metrolink services are, not just for the people living within GM, but those visiting too.
“The service delivered this weekend is a testament to everyone behind the scenes and on the front line of our public transport network, as well as the organisers and partners, who worked together to deliver another fantastic event.”
Due to the excellent communication between all agencies involved, including Northwest Ambulance Service, Greater Manchester Police and the local authorities, road closures were able to be safely removed earlier than in previous years, benefiting the wider public living and travelling in the affected areas.
Sunday’s patronage was around 11,000 higher than the previous record, which was recorded at last year’s marathon and came just days before the 30th anniversary of Metrolink’s first passenger services, which began on 6th April 1992.
Photo credit: Transport for Greater Manchester