Manchester Metrolink service changes are set for launch next week, with the operator expanding routes and unveiling a new and improved tram map.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) says the changes are set to increase capacity on most services from 28 January.
Trams which previously ran between Manchester Airport and Deansgate-Castlefield will now travel through to Victoria, while services from MediaCityUK will go past Piccadilly and terminated at Etihad Campus.
In addition, evening services on Sunday will be extended by around an hour, and extra platforms will be brought into operation at both Altrincham and Victoria.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM Committee, said the change in service pattern was “really important” to delivering improvements for customers.
“Metrolink connects large parts of the city region, providing vital links across our towns and cities, and the introduction of later running trams on Sundays will be a boost to our night time economy and the many workers and revellers who support it,” he continued.
“This, coupled with the fact that we’re extending services from the airport to Victoria – which will provide better connections and additional capacity through the regional centre – will undoubtedly improve our customers’ journey and experience of Metrolink.
“This is especially significant as this has only been made possible by bringing into service the third line through Victoria; the final piece of the jigsaw funded by Metrolink’s remarkable £1.5bn ‘big bang’ programme of extensions and upgrades.”
As well as introducing new services, the additional trams brought in on the Altrincham and Bury lines before Christmas are expected to stay in use in order to increase overall capacity on two of the busiest routes.
Aline Frantzen, managing director at KeolisAmey Metrolink, which operates the trams, commented: “Our mission is to put customers at the heart of everything we do, to keep Greater Manchester moving and growing every day.
“To achieve that, we need to listen to what our customers are telling us and we’ve done exactly that by responding to the feedback we’ve had from people about wanting to be brought closer to where they want to go, the need for more space on trams for people – particularly travelling through the city – and services stopping short.”
In addition to the service changes, Metrolink has unveiled a new map of its lines, which has been re-designed and now includes coloured lines as well as numbered flags following feedback from customers.