Listen to this article here
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is urging Stockport residents to make the most of late night travel options when they enjoy the city-region’s night time economy.
Residents and visitors to Greater Manchester are being reminded of the several ways available to them for getting around at night – whether that’s after going out for the evening or travelling to or from work. The call is also being backed by Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord and Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt.
Alongside the call, TfGM has now reinstated later running trams on Friday and Saturday nights (until 1am) and will see trams also run until 1am on New Year’s Eve to enable revellers to get home. Late running trams will also complement existing night buses, particularly with the recent launch of joint bus and tram ticketing as part of the Bee Network launch, with some services running until 4am on routes including between Manchester city centre and Stockport. On the city-region’s railways, last trains run between 11pm and midnight Monday to Friday, with some running later on Saturdays.
The night time economy is a major part of Greater Manchester’s economy, with 358,000 people working in jobs or businesses that are significantly active at night. As part of the city-region’s plans to take greater public control over its transport network, plans are afoot to make Greater Manchester an even better and safer place to visit or work into the early hours.
TfGM is set to announce more detail in the new year, following a commitment made in the Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Strategy, approved by the Mayor and ten local authority leaders in March 2022.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said:
“The return of later running trams on Friday and Saturday nights is a really positive move towards supporting our night time economy by providing significantly improved travel options.
“The Bee Network has given us the opportunity to really explore what we can do to improve travel options for people who make our night time economy tick – from bar staff and waiters to health and logistics workers.
“We know how important the night time economy is to Greater Manchester and providing better transport for those who do so much to make it a success has to be a priority as we build the network for the future.
“I am excited to see us develop the Bee Network so it works for everyone and this will be another vitally important step in that direction.”
Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord said:
“When I speak to businesses, operators and workers across our city-region, the one thing they constantly raise with me is the need for public transport to run later.
“The bar worker finishing a shift at 2am should have just as much ease getting home as the office worker finishing at 5pm. It is clear to me if we are to reach our aspirations to be a truly 24-hour night time economy of the type we see across Europe, we need to give people safe, affordable and accessible routes home when the party is over.
“A 24/7 cycle hire scheme, later running buses and trams and capped fares and cheaper tickets represent an important first step on this journey, and I would encourage anybody travelling late at night to look into those options.
“I look forward to working closely with Vernon Everitt, and Transport for Greater Manchester, to develop a business case for later transport and truly unleash the potential of our night time economy.”
TfGM is also about to commence a study to assess what level of rail service is needed to support the growing economy of the city region – including evening service levels to support the night time offer.
And as part of The Bee Network’s commitment to creating a safe and secure network, 30 new TravelSafe Support and Enforcement Officers (TSEOs) are now patrolling franchised bus services, interchanges and bus stations.
Vernon Everitt said there was a real commitment to public transport bolstering the night time economy as the Bee Network develops. The Transport Commissioner said:
“I welcome the later running of Metrolink on Fridays and Saturdays and, alongside later bus services introduced under the first phase of bus franchising, it marks the start of a renewed focus on providing safe night time travel.
“Working with Sacha, we will be looking to expand these options as the Bee Network grows, delivering an integrated network with trams, trains, buses and active travel options all joining up to ensure people get home safely after a night out or late shift.
“We’ll also be looking hard at how we make transport options to and from big events much better for everyone.”