Greater Manchester’s Metrolink has been named one of the best light rail systems in the world.
The accolade follows an international study that rated the Metrolink tram network fifth best in the large city category, scoring it 66/100 based on ten separate criteria.
These were tram corridor potential; speed and urban integration; multimodal integration; pricing and ticketing; use of resources; tram service offer; reliability, accessibility, security; tram ridership; tram economic viability and public transport dynamic.
Metrolink was praised for its off-peak frequency, pricing and ticketing, use of resources, economic balance and tram ridership dynamic.
The comparative study, which looked at 32 tram systems across the world, was published by Eurogroup Consulting and identified several systems operated by global transport player Keolis – which runs Metrolink in a joint venture with Amey – among the best performing.
KeolisAmey Metrolink took over operations and maintenance of Manchester’s Metrolink for a period of up to 10 years from July 2017. The Greater Manchester tram network is the largest of its kind in the UK serving 93 stops along seven different lines with almost 100km of track and a fleet of 120 modern trams.
Already, in the year 2018/19, Metrolink achieved the highest passenger growth of all UK light rail systems with a 6.1 per cent increase from 42.4 million to 43.7 million journeys.
Councillor Mark Aldred of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, said: “We are working all the time to make Metrolink better, so I’m delighted it has been recognised as one of the best tram systems in the world.
“Things like this don’t happen by chance. It’s a reflection of a lot of hard work and investment over many years and also testament to the work that KeolisAmey Metrolink have done to improve performance in the two years they have been operating and maintaining the network.
“We’ve invested almost £2bn over the last decade or so to grow Metrolink, and are investing in more trams and constantly looking at ways to make using it easier and more attractive – such as the contactless payment system that launched last week.
“As a system entirely owned, managed and run at a local level, it’s a blueprint for how Greater Manchester could run other transport systems in the future.
“As we continue to grow and carry more people, there’s no doubt Metrolink’s future is bright and its standing as a world-class network assured.”
While TfGM owns the Metrolink network, it is operated and maintained by KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM), a joint venture partnership of leading global public transport operator, Keolis, and infrastructure asset management specialist, Amey.
Aline Frantzen, Managing Director at KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM), said: “Greater Manchester has achieved its vision for light rail because of a relentless focus on delivery over the past 25 years.
“Allowing for the different environments, Metrolink is best-in-class across 10 categories and that’s a credit to the work Transport for Greater Manchester has done, with us in more recent times, to continuously improve and grow the service for customers
“These results testify to the real return on investment that TfGM has achieved by harnessing the potential of trams as an integral part of the Greater Manchester transport network.”
The system that scored highest in the large cities category was Lyon in France, which scored 71/100.