Monday, 5 August 2013

Open Letter to Metrolink

Dear Mr Cushing, Metrolink Director

Thank you for your message earlier today. I read it on my phone as the rain predictably beat down on to Shudehill platform and I faced my third or fourth major Metrolink delay of the week. Fortunately the 25 minutes or so spent huddling under my umbrella, internally raging, gave me some time to contemplate. You've asked for people to get in touch, so here are eight things I would consider / implement if I were in your shoes, or Replacement Footware Services, as I'm sure you call them.

1. No one wants to go to Droylsden.


I asked a couple of colleagues who sit near me at work, a few people on the platform tonight and my friend Jamie and not a single one of them had any interest in going to Droylsden. Yet you've built a massive tram line there, probably using decent stuff that we could have used to sort out all the old shit that doesn't work on the current lines.

So how about replacing the signals, track and other stuff that's fucked before building additional lines to Droylsden, Reddish, Farnworth or whatever other place you've got planned for this week's New Line Development.

2. Replace your current 'signals' with actual signals


It's always signal failure. Not sure where you're buying these devices from, but have you checked that they are actually signals? First step: check signals are actually signals. Second step: ignore first step and buy new signals. From a signal selling company. Here's what one looks like:



3. Social Media is a two-way communication tool


Log in to twitter. Click the '@ Connect' button. You'll see a load of things that look like this:

@officialtfgm I've been at Market Street for 20 minutes, where are the Rochdale trams?!
@officialtfgm You're as useful as a Paul Scholes' tackle.
@officialtfgm If you were a telecoms company you'd be NTL.

This is people tweeting things at you. Underneath is a link that says 'reply'. If you click this button you'll be able to communicate with people who have asked you a question, or made a comment in your general direction. You need to acknowledge people as social media is a two-way communication tool. If you don't have the skills or resources to do this then don't use it at all.

If you want an example of how bad you are at this, the Los Angeles company with the Twitter username @metrolink have actually started answering complaints and apologising on your behalf:



I'm happy to provide a day's social media training at a bargain price of £800 a day and will come by car so we can start on time.

Also, you've pissed off Krypton Factor host Gordon Burns.


4. "Do you know how Geoff got suspended?" "Yeah, he went through a red at Langworthy." "Fucking hell."


For the love of all that is holy, train your staff to not discuss work issues whilst on duty, in work clothes and on a tram. This isn't an occasional thing. At least once a week I stand next to three or four staff openly discussing their managers and what's going on at work. Earlier this week two members of staff were loudly discussing different deaths on the line over the years, including the pensioner that had unfortunately been killed earlier that day.

Get them to spend some time at organisations like McDonalds and Starbucks where the personality is mentally beaten out of employees until they become a human script.

5. 'My Get Me There'

Liam Gallagher. Manchester United fans who use the word 'champ20ns'. Wallowing in nostalgia. People already have enough things to take the piss out of Mancunians for without calling our version of the Oyster Card the My Get Me There. Pick any random name (Flamingo, Blumpkin, Papaya, Epididymis, Anthrax, Gooch, etc.) and go with that instead.

Then find the people who were paid to come up with this and shake them by the hand to congratulate them on the size of their balls for charging for this service.

6. Consider relating the numbers displayed on the electronic board to what's actually happening.


A radical one this.

For example: if a Bury tram is arriving at a station in 6 minutes, put up the word 'Bury' with '6 minutes' next to it on to the board.

I'm all for the current laissez-faire, free-form approach of throwing up random numbers on the board but I thought a new system of corresponding the live timetable with what's actually going on in real life might prove popular.

7. Don't cover main events.


This sounds daft, but bear with me. When there's a big concert at the Etihad, or a sporting event such as the Ashes as we saw this week, why not just shut down? Just take the trams offline. Think about it. No additional trams required, no delays, no additional staff, no replacement bus services, no expensive removal of derailed trams, no crisis management. Perfect.

All you then need to do is work out your savings, send everyone going to these events a tenner and we can all just get taxis. Win-win.

8. Stop using random distribution to send out your trams.


During my long waits at various platforms all over your network I like to imagine the system you use to send out trams in a particular order. I'm come to the conclusion that you have a machine like the one they use on the National Lottery, but with tram lines instead of numbers on the balls.



Every 10 minutes or so an old bloke called Bob at head office stirs from his slumber, kicks the machine and a ball pops out that says 'Eccles'. Bob sends a carrier pigeon off to Piccadilly and 30 minutes later an Eccles tram splutters in to life. Followed by another Eccles tram. Then an Eccles tram.

A new way of doing this could be to, you know, SEND OUT THE TRAMS ON TO EACH LINE IN FUCKING SEQUENCE, THUS KEEPING AN EQUAL DISTRIBUTION.

You could retrain Bob to do it.

Anyway, I look forward to getting no response to this.

Kind regards.
@newsmanc

84 comments:

  1. Can I add how annoying it is when the stop an already delayed tram at a stop to do a ticket inspection. Then, rather than get the tram moving, it stays stationary for 5 minutes whilst they check everyones ticket!

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    1. Or more to the point, have the cheek to pull me off for not having a ticket when the machine at either side of my station is "out of service"

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    2. They pull you off for not having a ticket?! Blimey!!

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    3. IM NOT BUYING A TICKET ANYMORE!

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  2. Or getting to the platform and finding only one ticket machine, then missing your tram cos someone else is using the machine, only to find it's 25 minutes till your tram gets pulled out of the random generator again.

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  3. I rarely get the tram as it involves an epic trip from my two local stations to home but I can relate to every one of these points. I use first bus and they have often had me in tears but it seems they are all as bad as each other

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  4. Great work. I'd continue by telling you some of my unfortunate adventures on the Metrostink but i fear i'd he here all night.
    Looking forward to hearing your response from Pete.

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  5. Don't forget the 5 min wait at the depot as the replacement driver isn't ready yet, and when he is, there just has to be a good chat about last night's TV or something.

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  6. I live in Manchester near Firswood and take Metrolink all the time. Presently I'm living in LA, whose light rail system doesn't offer timetables, let alone indicators of when the next tram might be arriving. It's cheaper, sure, but there's also the attendant fear of death from fellow passengers. Half your points are unfair too: people do want to go to Droyslden (as well as that line being incomplete thus far), main events have to be covered unless you want to ensure only the better off can get to major events, and christ knows NO ONE wants staff to be like the drones at Starbucks! Compared to LA, Metrolink is heaven, but in perspective it's a fledgling system that is getting bigger and better.

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    1. It's hardly fledging, the metrolink has been running in Manchester since 1992.........

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    2. Metrolink was built on the cheap and under invested in until very recently. The new signalling system which is currently being rolled out should solve many of todays issues.

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    3. Except it does not work and will not work alongside the existing systems due to tfgm's and manchester metrolinks Massive incompetence

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    4. It being the new signalling system and don't even get me started on the oldham and rochdale town centre extensions!

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    5. David, that's simply not true. The new system has been working alongside the old for years now on the new lines. It replaced the old system earlier this year in the city centre and a few weeks ago at cornbrook hence the platform displays now work.

      There where a few teething issues at first but this is to be expected with any new system and I think Thales (the supplier of the new system) took the blame for many of these issues in the end.

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  7. Come to Droylsden for all your Kebab,gambling and discount store needs!Also check out our main attraction,The infamous Cotton Tree pub....

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    1. what about greggs? we have a greggs

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  8. Why rapidly expand when you can't even run the existing services on time? It was only ever going to het worse.

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    1. Numerous things can cause delays to the service. The expansion programme should solve some of them:

      *More reliable trams, all of the old trams should be gone by next year
      *more flexible signalling system, should reduce delays and help the service recover more quickly when there is a problem. is being rolled out at present
      *second route through the city centre means if something does go wrong in the city, an alternative route is available. should be running by 2017

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  9. On Saturday after my therapy appointment I got on a tram which was taken off at Market street, a derailment between Vic and Crumpsall, was told to take 135, got on with tram ticket and copped abuse (subject to complaint now) from the driver who said "no one told me" the disruption had been going 20 minutes.

    There needs to be a complete rethink and joined up working across the transport companies as well as Metrolink sorting their crap out. This is getting ridiculous.

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  10. WHY IS THE APP SUCH A JOKE. no timetable or live departures. Though I know live departures would break the system completely.

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    1. The old signalling system cannot support live departures. The new signalling system will, but it will be fully rolled out for at least year.

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  11. My favourite was when they closed most of the lines for half the weekends of the Manchester International Festival.

    Maybe they could get Kenneth Branagh to announce the bus replacement service???

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  12. On way to Old Trafford last Thurs for day one of the Test we were held at Trafford Bar for 10 mins while the numpty driver repeatedly tried to get the broken door to close. For the sake of a couple of hundred yards just drive the thing with the door open, then we could all get off and you could fix it without having 100s of people boiling to death. Elf n safety gone mad.

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    1. Thursday was madness. First a 30 minute wait for a tram from MediaCity to Picadilly. Then another epic wait for a tram to Bury. After boarding a packed tram full of people that were just about ready to die from heat stroke, an overhead cable explodes at Crumpsall causing fire, smoke and resulting in screaming people running off the tram. It took me two fucking hours to get to Prestwich. Oh and the kicker: the 135 doesn't go near my house so that ended in 25 minute walk home. No cash machines nearby so I couldn't get a taxi. God I hate you Metrolink and I am getting a car tomorrow.

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    2. In the driver's defense... I'm pretty sure that's an automated safety thing like on the tube. They can't move with the doors open.
      I'm ok with that....

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    3. As Rosemay said, Trams can't move with the doors open. This is a safety system.

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    4. What about people dieing from heat stroke? health $ safety right there ...

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  13. Oh, and sort out that junction where cars and trams keep on colliding either with traffic lights like most others or close the streets to vehicles.

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    1. They can't put traffic lights there for technical reasons. TFGM would actually like to block the junction permanently but this keeps on being thown out by the council.

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  14. And the annoying tone that after head office talks to the station.. OK stop it with the *hung up* tone it's really quite annoying and no need for it what so ever.

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  15. After living in London for a year and now returning to Manchester, I have to say until we get a system that works as well and coordinated as the Underground system, the Metrolink will always be embarrassingly poor.

    Also, when you look at the success and ease of the Oyster system would it not be worthwhile looking at the implementation of such a piece of tech? Millions of people pass through the tube every week and although its not always perfect itself, the Oyster card system saves so much time. Also no more twonks walking around asking for your tickets.

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    1. Manchester begins rolling out its oyster style system next year. It will be called "get me there".

      It's also worth remembering that outside London such as system will be much more complex because here is manchester we have a load of competing bus companies with there own fare structures.

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    2. Refer to original post. "Get Me there" is a stupid name. Too many words etc. Call it the Manc card or something.

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    3. I think its a rather boring name too but the name won't stop it from being useful and popular.

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    4. If everyone agrees its a boring and stupid name, why is it still being called 'Get Me there' how pig faced was the inbred who thought up that name? I've been on/off using metrolink for the past 10 years and its absolutely embarrassing, in any weather condition other than mild drizzle something is wrong with the lines and trams don't function, year after year the price rises and quality of service declines, and TFGM sink millions of pounds into a god awful tram system to try and expand it when its network when it cant competently run the one it already has is one of the worst and most irresponsible uses of money I've seen in manchester, it's all good and find to defend metrolink saying things are getting better, they bloody well ought to given how much money they've taken from the city, if in the future Metrolink doesnt drop fares to something reasonable it just proves what money hoarding pigs the company is made of. Worse yet is all the money sunk in from TFGM has caused concessionary bus fares to double and fares on every other on every bus to rise due to decreased funding from TFGM because so much has gone to metrolink? Do those guys not give a flying shit about anyone other than themselves?

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    5. Because the name won't stop it from being useful or popular! People will probably just give it a nickname anyway. In London there is a bike hire scheme called Barclays Cycle Hire and everyone calls them 'Boris Bikes'.

      The fare increases are helping to pay for the expansion (and improvements), not going into someones back pocket so I wouldn't expect the fares to drop for a long time.
      As for expansion vs improvements, many of the improvements are linked to the expansion. All the original trams will be gone by next year, thats £80 mill spent for 40 replacement trams. The new signalling will solve a lot of problems, wikipedia tells me that is costing £22mill so thats £100mill spent on improvements before anything is expanded (the true figure is probably a lot more than that).

      Anyone can see that Metrolink is good for Manchester and should be expanded. Do you think that the BBC would have moved to Salford Quays if there wasn't a tram to the front door, certainly not.

      As for concessionary fares, I don't know the details but i'm pretty sure it would be illegal for TFGM to do what you suggest.

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    6. The BBC would have built their new studios on a Nuclear radio-active swamp out in the middle of nowhere if their Labour party colleagues had told them to. Trams to or from Salford Quays don't and never did have anything to do with it...

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  16. Exactly my thoughts!
    After paying for a hefty weekly fare, I had numerous cancellations, and had to infact get a bus (which the weekly works out £10 cheaper) and also gets me home only 5 minutes later than the tram...
    something doesn't add up.

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  17. I feel I must disagree about the trams coming to Droylsden. With Ragecoach running the buses it's the only way we can get out of the shithole!

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  18. Aww quality, I have not laughed as hard as this for a while, it’s only funny because it’s true though. I use the metro every day and tbh it’s a surprise if there is not a delay.

    Come wind, rain or shine the delays are always there.

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  19. Please apply for a job as Metrolink's social media manager. You'd be like the commentator on Come Dine With Me, helping us laugh through an endless painful experience!

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  20. >A new way of doing this could be to, you know, SEND OUT THE >TRAMS ON TO EACH LINE IN FUCKING SEQUENCE, THUS KEEPING AN EQUAL >DISTRIBUTION.
    >
    >You could retrain Bob to do it.

    You could retrain the *carrier pigeon* to do it.

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  21. The Eccles tram takes longer than the bus does. It is expensive and in the slightest bit of bad weather is cancelled. Why not scrap the tram and increase the number of trains? Another rant, the tax payers of Greater Manchester paid for the tram lines to be built so why do we let private companies run the Metrolink and make profit out of our investment?!

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    1. It is government policy to allow private companies to profit from publicly owned assets.

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  22. My favourite part is having to wait an extra half hour or more as my old line stops to let all the new lines pass. Seems a little douchey to let your older customers who are probably now relying on it as they've used it longer too suffer for the new.

    Set up a system to prevent this. It can't be that hard to hold a tram here or there a little longer so one line doesn't receive ALL the delays.

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    1. The new signalling system will prevent this from happening. It is already active in cornbrook, should be active on the bury line before too long.

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  23. 9. Pick some better colours. Seriously, yellow and grey? I know being stood in the rain on a grey day and the smell of piss are synonymous with the Metrolink experience but there's no need to encorporate it into your branding as well.

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  24. I share your pain, given the amount of time I spend stuck at Cornbrook signals, I now have to pay council tax there.

    Usually my tram-mares are restricted to boarding trams which were once destined for Altrincham but are callously terminated at Timperley with the reason there are too many trams on the tracks (they’re sneaky blighters), usually only when the weather is recreating the films Twister or Waterworld outside….well that and the Altrincham trams which disappear into Piccadilly’s answer to the Bermuda Triangle only to be spewed out in batches of five to meet the once every twelve minutes average.

    Brilliantly a few weeks back Metrolink decided to shut down the Altrincham, East Didsbury and pretty much every other line on a Saturday, which seems a remarkably cunning plan. They then conscripted the cast of Whacky Races to drive the replacement buses in a manner only previously seen on Mario Kart.

    Having arrived at Trafford Bar to change to East Didsbury (which worryingly took an hour despite us exceeding the speed of light at least twice), we were presented with simple logic at the replacement bus stops - on one side "to Manchester", on the other "away from Manchester". Following an hour long wait for an East Didsbury replacement bus, I walked around the corner to find another stop also cunningly titled "away from Manchester". Whilst remarkably literal, it was about as much use as lingerie on Susan Boyle.

    This was slightly less character building than when I once queued with a group of fellow victims at Dane Road for over an hour as it made far too much sense to not put any signs out telling people there was a tram replacement bus or bother to announce it over the tannoys - maybe these tannoys are from the same Christmas crackers as the Poundstretcher signals the writer identifies?

    Still I shouldn't complain, this Saturday there were no trams from Altrincham for at least two hours to show me in the words of Jim Bowen "what I could have won", resulting in me not being treated to the aromatic cocktail of vomit and urine you can only really get from travelling on a tram or being in a portaloo at a concert whilst it is pushed over.

    As a useful aside on the fines, you will only get fined if you are wearing less than two items of clothing made from polyester, it appears being called Rooney, Tyrone or just telling the ticket inspectors to "f*ck off" excludes you from needing a ticket. However finding out the Metrolink Chuckle Brothers have failed to provide a working ticket machine on either platform is not a valid excuse, you need to ring a mystical number which will whisper you the enigma code - they only tell you this once they have fined you.

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  25. I once heard an announcement during rush hour that trams had been "suspended due to unexpected high demand". If there's one time you should expect high demand it's during rush hour.

    The only saving grace of Metrolink is if you miss your tram, you can walk to the next stop faster than the tram gets there because it's so slow.

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  26. I was at a panel on social media and stakeholder consultation with the head of stakeholder consultation at tfgm - safe to say he was clueless.

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  27. Nobody wants to go to Droylsden? More to the point we don't want their sort in the city centre!

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  28. 1 Don't be so fucking selfish. People LIVE all along the East Manchester line, as far out as Ashton and all through Audenshaw, Droylsden and Clayton.

    2 That's not what Metrolink's signals look like. Not the new ones anyway, they use tramway signals with five white lights on them. A 'signal failure' could be just well anything to do with the system (which is of unique installation onto an existing system) not necessarily the actual signal heads.

    3 Fair point. That twitter account is poor - but any improvements would have to be paid for by TfGM and where should the resources go, to fancy social media and a nice website or to the trams?

    4 An excellent point.

    5 Completely agree. Would note that this is not really anything to do with Peter Cushing, its been decided by TfGM, but if he could lobby for a u-turn on that name announcement all the better!

    6 The new Passenger Information Displays have surprised me with their accuracy. IMHO, they're better than London Underground's! As new lines are converted to the new system (the Altrincham and Bury lines) and have their displays switched on, the more accurate they will become. Note that Cornbrook has recently had displays switched on? These are the best display boards of any of the UK's tramways - Sheffield and Blackpool have no live info at stops at all!

    7 Not much about what Metrolink do makes for poor event coverage. Indeed, some events at Etihad have been managed very well! Old Trafford will improve once the new signalling system is in place, as multiple trams can load in the platforms at the same time. There could be more additional capacity provided than there is at the majority of events though, it's true.

    8 This point really makes no sense. Trams run at scheduled intervals known as 'headways' - unfortunately late running on these is endemic on Metrolink, which means bunching - loads of trams arriving at the same time and then a big gap. They aren't 'sending the trams out' and putting a random destination up. If you are waiting at Piccadilly for an Altrincham tram and none are turning up that's because no trams have arrived from Altrincham! If two trams arrive from Eccles two will go back there. Sending one to Altrincham instead would just make the delays worse on the Eccles line!

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    1. 1. Honestly, I checked all over the shop and not a single person wants to go to Droylsden.

      2. That's definitely what a Metrolink signal looks like, I went out and took that picture myself before downloading it Google images.

      3. If you do social media then resource it. If you can't, don't do it.

      6. I don't have a display at my local station. How do you know so much about tramstops?

      7. Are you fucking serious? All it takes is a few trolly case trundling middle-aged women arrive to throw pants at Robbie and the whole thing goes down.

      8. I wasn't being serious with any of these points.

      You work for them don't you? :)

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    2. Honestly, I checked all over the shop and not a single person wants to go to Droylsden.

      But Droyslden is just a temporary terminus to the line. Within months it will extend to Ashton, and I'm sure loads of people want to go there. At the very least, it's got Greater Manchester's only branch of IKEA...

      Delete
    3. Somebody needs to get a sense of humour

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    4. Newsey, Metrolink are actually in the process of phasing out the old signals which look like the one you posted with a totally different system. The new system will allow the displays which at each stop to work and should help the network to recover from disruption more easily.

      All of the new lines have the new system as well as the city centre, eccles line, and as of about 2 weeks ago, the cornbrook area. The altrincham and bury lines will be moved over to the new system in phases every few months with the area around old trafford next on the list.

      Also bear in mind that signals are a bit more sophisticated that a pole with coloured lights on, they are linked to some extremely complex pieces of equipment which can occasionally fail.

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    5. Somebody needs to get a sense of humour

      You know how they say "it's funny 'cause it's true"? Well, this wasn't true *or* funny...

      Delete
  29. Great stuff! Love it! I went to Salford Quays last month, expecting it to be like London+'s Docklands or Leeds' Clarence Dock.

    What a waste of space!!

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  30. Kofi, fuck off, the Metrolink is a pile of fucking wank

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  31. And then theres the disruption every weekend, where you can only get a tram part way into the city and then have to get a bus the rest of the way there.

    Thanks for that MetroStink (Thats the best I can come up with right now)

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  32. Brilliant! I would also like to add the sense of pride at being a human being when I see 40 ticket inspectors at Sale surrounding a schoolgirl desperately trying to find her ticket, while 1 pathetic(ist) inspector shuffles after a loudmouthed suited male blazenly striding ticket free off the platform.

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  33. I work at Media City which is such a ball ache to get to by Tram. This blog post was like 5 minutes of pure bliss therapy for the years of being stranded at Cornbrook willing a tram to Media City to Come! The bloody ticket inspectors get right on my chaff too, they should be ashamed to even ask someone for a ticket, the service is rubbish. I'm investing in a bike, I'ld rather get wet in winter on the ride home then on a platform of a blood tram stop!

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  34. want to know how a proper tram service works??? go to Nottingham...no delays..no fuck ups...and an intelligent on the ball time display at EVERY tram stop...

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    1. In fairness Metrolink is in the process of rolling out customer displays. I find it very hard to believe that Nottingham has no delays.

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  35. Last Thursday we stood at Stretford for an hour. Spent first 30 minutes of it listening to the drive telling the tram on the opposite platform that all trams were stopped but he didn't know why (while the website said the Bury line was suspended).

    Second 30 minutes was spent occassionally hearing very faint announcement on the PA telling passengers who wanted to travel on the Bury line that they could get the bus.

    Not once did they mention anything about passengers who had been waiting to go to Altrincham for an hour. (And despite the delays, six trams went Manchester bound while we waited for one heading outwards.

    Only occasional (four or five times a month) user but recently have problems 80% of trips. As others have said, Sheffield & Nottingham manage fine.

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  36. Attending the cricket last Thursday it was sad to see they've renamed Warwick Rd Station Old Trafford and the old Old Trafford Station after a pub. Also no trains go past the ground, just the occasional one coach tram resembling rush hour in New Delhi. If John Arlott was still around commentating on TMS it would go something like "And another tram fails to show up at the Warwick Rd End".

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  38. My best metrolink experience was after waiting over an hour for the first tram one brave soul presses the button for customer services only to be told that trams had been to our station and we must have missed them.

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  40. I want to know why they have to change drivers at Trafford Bar at 7:55am? Given the first tram is about 5:30am, that's a shift of less than 3 hours. Nice work.

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    1. More likely they need to go for a break.

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  41. Also, why should a tram breaking down at the very far end of a line - say, at Rochdale for example - cause delays to every other tram on that line? Just run them all to the stop before Rochdale or to Oldham. It should not affect trams between Didsbury/Chorlton and Manchester, should it?

    Also, if you extend one line by more than doubling the number of stops, how about also doubling the carriages to deal with all the extra passengers that get on at those stops? Too simple?

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  42. Pure class! You've made my night :-)

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  43. At least your Metro gets you somewhere eventually.
    Barlow Moor and Wythenshawe have been pot holes for about 3 years now and we are only just seeing rail going in, albeit away from most main junctions.
    The whole planning process is a joke. There is NO coordination between TfGM and the Contractors. Having a brother working on the project at a senior level its completley under resouced.
    But because its for the "better good" of Manchester we have to suffer.
    Wythenshawe watch out, you'll be paying top whack to get into town and I'm expecting bus services to be reduced to force people to use the tram.

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  44. Trams are great in bad weather. They keep going in the harshest of situations and are so relyable. I must stop watching black & white films of trams in the old days. In reality two flakes of snow and the worry starts so show on the face of the Metrolink officials. Back in the cold snow of the winter you turn up at the Market St stop to have an anouncment being made over the tanoy that the trams aren't going to Oldham because there is an inch of snow. We can use the buses (mumbled numbers). So press inquiry button to find out where to catch the bus. no answer. Then a second thought there is no bus going to Hollinwood anyway where the car is. This then involves a train to Hattersley being picked up and having to be driven 6 miles up the motorway in a blizzard to retreve my Jeep. What made me laugh is the poster on the Oldham line saying try the tram its 'Quick & Easy'. Just don't try in snow, heat or rain and just cross your fingers that the signal don't break down.

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  45. Did you know that bunching (of trams, buses, ...) is a natural cause of randomness? Put a set of evenly-spaced dots along a line. They're not random because you can predict the position of every one. Now move them around on the line randomly and you get bunching.

    So bunching is a natural phenomenon and requires management to avoid. It's no good management saying "Well one tram was delayed and another caught it up, so two came through together" as if it was a big surprise. Instead you need to put systems in place that take action when bunching starts occurring. Like having a float or buffer, for example, at somewhere like Piccadilly where a tram can be sent out if an inbound tram is seriously delayed.

    An alternative, less popular solution of course, is simply to delay the faster-running trams/buses so as to reintroduce an appropriate time gap between it and the slow tram ahead. But would you want to be on that tram sitting, waiting, waiting,... just to reintroduce a time gap?

    Good management requires immediate action as soon as even a small delay is detected so that it doesn't have a major knock-on effect. It would be good to believe that the new signaling system including the back-end computers, will be able to do this sort of thing...

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  46. RATP - Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (the company that runs Metrolink) is notoriously bad at running the Paris metro. Why are they 'running' our Metrolink?

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  47. Whenever I get stuck for a few minutes trying to get around London, I regard the tutting and grumbling crowd with amusement and recall the sheer hell that was my working life in Manchester. My heart goes out to you all, Mancunians, Salfordites, suburban masses of Alty, Bury, Cheadle and all that lies between. Hold tight, save up, and buy a motorbike!

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  49. Good post this. Penned some thoughts of my own on what Metrolink needs to do next on Twitter if you fancy taking a look.

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  50. Absolutely brilliant - well played Newsy

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  51. http://metrolinkmanchester.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/a-history-of-mistakes-that-is-metrolink.html?m=1

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  52. There was a guy who took long at the ticket machine, I suspect he did not understand how to use it or read English, I saw two inspectors on the trams, and naively I approached them to explain. The ticket inspector shouted at me to sit down in an aggressive tone, he said to get off next stop and speak to the police and other colleagues, straight away some Nigerian bloke threatneed me if I don't pay up the 50 pound I will be charged 120 pound or thrown into prison. Metrolink is a joke. It needs to alter its inspectors attitudes. I have seen them let of hordes of drunk family goers on a Saturday night in Manchester Victoria without paying a single ticket but they attack me a honest NHS worker who was a terrible rush. Never use Metrolink again!

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