Ramping up the trams

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BLACKPOOL’S £100m new tram service is now running every 10 minutes during peak times.

And transport chiefs say passenger numbers have exceeded expectation since the Bombardier trams were introduced in April.

Blackpool Transport managing director Trevor Roberts said: “When we started availability allowed us to operate a 20 minute daytime service which gave us the opportunity to introduce the service prior to Easter.

“The learning curve on operating a modern light rail transit tram system has been steep for all areas of the business particularly with the recent challenges of Promenade closures and severe weather.

“The trams have become very popular and we are carrying numbers well ahead of our expectations at this point including many local residents

“We had always planned, subject to availability of trams and trained drivers - who take six weeks to train, to introduce a 10 minute daytime service from the beginning of July.

“This would give us the opportunity to see how the service operated in advance of the Open Golf next week.

“The staff have coped really well with the recent challenges and the service is bedding in well.

“We are delighted so many people including large numbers of residents are using the new system which through our saver ticket range gives complete flexibility with our bus services.”

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Originally the daytime service ran every 20 minutes, but it has now been increased to every 10 minutes from Monday to Saturday, and every 15 minutes on Sundays. There is a half-hour service in the evenings.

Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council cabinet member for transport said he hoped the more frequent service would encourage more commuters.

He said: “From my own observations it seems the trams are being used exceptionally well, with every seat taken quite often.

“What we need is for the trams to be used by commuters particularly people travelling from Fleetwood and Cleveleys into Blackpool for work, and the other way.

“We are also hoping to tie the evening service, which runs late into the evening, in with events going on in town centre.

“For example we are looking at the possibility that when someone buys a theatre ticket, they can get a tram ticket at the same time to enable them to travel in.”

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