A campaign for trams to run until the late hours of the night has been unanimously approved by Trafford Council, following the example of neighbouring Greater Manchester borough, Salford. The move, which was put forward by Timperley ward Liberal Democrat councillor, Will Frass, has been welcomed across all parties on the Labour-controlled authority.
Back in October 2022, Liberal Democrat councillors in Salford submitted a motion asking the authority to back their call for Metrolink trams to run until 2am during the week and until 4am at weekends. Trafford Council has followed suit with a motion requesting Metrolink services running beyond 11.55pm on the Altrincham to Bury line to carry both hospitality workers and revellers home.
The motion by Cllr Will Frass said: “Trafford residents, either working in the hospitality sector or enjoying the night-time economy, face a curfew for the tram, expensive taxis, or a risky walk home in the dark. Tackling both violence and against women and girls and gender-based violence more widely are priorities for Greater Manchester Police across the region.”
It pointed out that metro mayor Andy Burnham has announced his ambition to make the city’s tram network the ’11th district’ for policing. The motion continued saying, “this means that a late-night tram service across Greater Manchester is increasingly becoming the best transport option to ensure thousands of people across the region can get home safely in the evenings and after dark.”
Regarding the viability of such a service the Council noted that since November 2021 London’s ‘night tube’ continues to be successful and has surpassed fears that it would have limited customers. The motion also added: “Concerns that there won’t be enough passengers can be assuaged by looking to the success of the later running Airport Line which is much used as the ‘last tram’ home for many. An expansion to existing services would not mean less use and many passengers could use a day ticket which runs for the whole service.”
Following the Trafford Council meeting where the motion was submitted, the Council aims to write to the Mayor of Greater Manchester calling for his support on late trams in the city, as well as ask Transport for Greater Manchester to run a three month trial of the night tram on the Altrincham to Bury service, and to monitor its success. If a trial is granted, the council would aim to work in close partnership with British Transport Police to ensure that resourcing is in place to keep a late night service safe for all users, with an emphasis to preventing gender based violence.