Midland Metro passenger numbers soar after extension
20 March 2017 • Author(s): Eurotransport Magazine
The number of people using the Midland Metro rose to record levels last year after the tram system was extended on to the streets of Birmingham city centre.
The network – which is owned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and managed by its transport arm Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) – reported that passenger figures jumped from 5 million in 2015 to 6.6 million in 2016, generating a 32% increase.
Furthermore, the latest forecast for the 12 months between the start of June last year (when the extension to New Street opened), and the end of May this year, shows the number of passengers is set to top seven million – up by more than two million on 2015.
This comes after the extension which has seen trams return to the city centre for the first time in more than 50 years – initially going to Bull Street and then to the redeveloped New Street station. This shows the dramatic effect on the number of people riding the Metro now the trams go through the heart of the city’s shopping district to the station and its Grand Central retail complex.
“This impressive increase shows why the WMCA is moving forward with a £1.2 billion expansion of the tram network and why the Metro is an important part of the authority’s economic and transport plans,” said Councillor Roger Horton, Lead Member for rail and Metro on the WMCA’s Transport Delivery Committee.
The tram network is expected to triple in size over the next decade as part of the WMCA’s long-term transport strategy. Passenger numbers are forecast to grow to more than 30 million, with services expected to start running in 2019.
“These future tram extensions will be a catalyst for economic growth and jobs and will significantly improve people’s ability to travel between key destinations in the West Midlands, including the forthcoming HS2 stations,” Councillor Horton added.