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Record-breaking year for light rail

By Martin Farrow

Record passenger numbers represent a massive vote of confidence in light rail, the leader of the UK’s light rail sector said today (Friday).

James Hammett, Managing Director of UK Tram, said: “Trams have clearly been embraced by the travelling public as a swift and reliable way to get around in urban areas without contributing to congestion and pollution.”

Commenting on new figures from the Department for Transport showing an increase in customer journeys of nearly two percent over the last financial year, he also said they pointed to the overall success of tramways in the UK.

“Since trams returned to our cities, they’ve gone from strength to strength and last year clocked up 272.4 million passenger trips – the highest since comparable figures were first recorded in 1983,” he explained.

“Tramways in Manchester and Nottingham perform particularly well, with increases of 6.1 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively, while across the board, more than nine out of ten passengers were satisfied with their journey.

“Recent investment in the sector is now clearly paying dividends with more and more passengers finding that tram travel is the best alternative to the car in our city centres.”

The DfT statistics are contained in a new report covering eight light rail systems in England and do not include figures for the successful Edinburgh tramway, which recently recorded a ten per cent increase in customer numbers.

“The growing popularity of trams is plain to see, and while a number of networks are pressing ahead with extensions, there’s increasing interest from other areas looking at light rail as a way of cutting congestion, improving air quality and boosting inward investment,” Mr Hammett added.

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