Metrolink: despite year-on-year increase, incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour are falling

Date published: 16 October 2019

Official figures for crime and antisocial behaviour on the Metrolink tram network show a year-on-year increase from 2017/18 to 2018/19: however, the number of incidents recorded in recent months is reducing.

Councillors from across Greater Manchester were updated on the tram network’s performance between last August and this summer in a briefing to the region’s transport committee on 11 October.

As a result of byelaws being enforced on the Metrolink network, the total number of recorded incidents has increased from 1,570 in 2017/18 to 2,063 in 2018/19.

The number of crimes per month has reduced in recent months, which has been welcomed by the head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “That’s not to say that it’s gone away but just to say that it is a relatively positive trend.”

Oldham councillor Howard Sykes called for a list of incidents to be presented to the committee on a line-by-line basis.

“Having it lumped together potentially masks some issues,” said Councillor Sykes.

“I’m particularly interested in the Oldham-Rochdale line because it has been a major issue.

“People are telling me we’re getting a hold of it, but I’m less than convinced.”

More than 63 incidents of tram-surfing, where people cling onto the exterior of trams as they move, were recorded between July 2018 and the end of August this year.

On average, 165 incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour per month were reported across the network, with the majority occurring at night.

A higher number of incidents were reported at times that ‘closely correlated to dates of school holidays’, says the report.

From mid-November, Greater Manchester Police will deploy a team of 50 uniformed officers to patrol the network in place of community support officers. 

More journeys, more trams, more faults

Metrolink continues to grow with 45 million trips recorded on the network in the year to the end of August – up from 42m trips in the equivalent period in August 2018.

To cope with additional demand, the number of double trams was increased on the Altrincham, Bury and East Didsbury lines.

Sweltering summer temperatures also led to a significant number of faults, with trams forced to go slower in July to protect the tracks and overhead lines. 

An increase in road traffic collisions during the summer also affected tram availability, with Metrolink missing performance targets.

Mr Vaughan described the summer as ‘difficult’ but said Metrolink performance had since returned to a ‘steady state’.

Industrial and global recognition

Metrolink has been nominated for ‘Rail Operator of the Year’ at this year’s National Transport Awards after scoring 90pc customer satisfaction ratings.

Customer satisfaction was measured by Transport Focus, the independent national body which advocates for passengers on public transport including bus and rail.

Mr Vaughan said: “It’s something we’re incredibly proud of. It’s really great for light rail operation to be up against some of the big rail operators.”

Councillors were also told that Metrolink’s performance was being actively compared to similar transport networks across the world, with a recent study commissioned by operators KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM) revealing part of Manchester city centre is the “busiest section of light rail anywhere in the world.”

A separate independent study ranked Metrolink as fifth best from 32 networks studies, and first for ‘utilisation of assets’.

Niall Griffiths, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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