Tram and light rail usage hits modern day peak


Use of trams and light rail in England continued to rise over the past year, with record numbers of passenger journeys and vehicle miles.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published Light Rail and Tram Statistics: England 2015/16, which covers tram systems across the country as well as the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and Tyne and Wear Metro.

Passenger journeys on London Tramlink declined by 12.1%

A total of 252 million passengers journeys were made on the eight light rail and tram systems in England over the year. This was a 5.8% increase on the previous year and the highest figure since comparable records began in 1983.

Vehicle mileage increased by 14.2% to 21 million miles. The DfT said this was mostly due to development of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink and Nottingham Express Transit systems.

Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network saw 34.3 million passenger journeys across the network, an increase of 10.1%.

Peter Cushing, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Metrolink director, said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic to see that the number of people using Metrolink continues to rise and there’s every reason for it to keep on growing, as the improvements we’ve been making come to fruition.’

The DLR and London Tramlink comprised 57% of all light rail journeys in the country.

Passenger journeys on London Tramlink declined by 12.1% over the year. The DfT said this was due to part closures of the system, with pedestrian ambience works in Croydon town centre and line improvement works. London Tramlink has since increased tram frequency.

Midland Metro and Sheffield Supertram were also affected by engineering works resulting in part closures of lines.

Last month Midland Metro, which runs trams between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, opened a new extension taking trams to Birmingham’s New Street Station.

Transport Focus’s latest Tram Passenger Survey, also last month, showed that passenger satisfaction with tram services has risen to 92%.

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