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Metrolink tram services on New Year’s Eve to be reduced due to the impact of Covid-19 on staffing levels

Bosses have apologised for the effect the timetable decisions may have on the plans of revellers heading out to see in 2022.

The Metrolink tram service will be running a reduced timetable on New Year’s Eve due to the impact of Covid-19 on staffing levels.

Three lines will stop running at 5pm and a replacement bus service will be running on one of them.

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Public transport chiefs have apologised for the inconvenience and acknowledged some revellers’ plans to head out to see in the New Year may be affected.

But they said difficult decisions were having to be made to keep as many scheduled services running as possible because of the number of employees who are unable to come into work because they are ill or self-isolating.

Which Metrolink services are affected on New Year’s Eve and what alternatives for journeys are there?

The affected lines of the tram network are those going to Ashton-under-Lyne, Eccles and Manchester Airport.

On all three of those there will be no trams running after 5pm on New Year’s Eve.

A replacement bus service is being laid on for the Ashton route.

Passengers on the Eccles and Airport lines will be able to use their tickets on commercial bus routes but most of these will stop running at 7pm.

The other lines - to Altrincham, Bury, East Didsbury, Rochdale and Trafford Park - will all be running until 1am on New Year’s Day.

What has Metrolink said?

Public transport bosses apologised for the fact some New Year’s Eve partygoers may now have to make alternative arrangements to get to and from wherever they are celebrating the arrival of 2022.

But they said that Metrolink was in the same position as other public transport operators in trying to keep as many services running as they can while working with high levels of staff absences due to Covid-19.

Alex Cropper, interim head of operations at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), said: “I would like to reassure passengers that we are doing all that we can to maintain as many scheduled Metrolink services as possible – while at the same time dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on tram drivers and staff.

A Metrolink tram. Photo: Peter Byrne/ POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“We do absolutely recognise the impact these changes may have on some people’s journeys and I would like to apologise for any inconvenience they may cause.

“We are working closely with the tram operator KeolisAmey Metrolink and keeping a close eye on the situation to ensure our customer information channels are updated so people are aware of their journey options.

“I would urge people to plan their journeys in advance before they head out for the evening, allow extra time to travel and check the TfGM website for the latest information.”

Residents are being urged to visit TfGM’s website for the latest information on Metrolink services on New Year’s Eve.

Further Metrolink disruption at the start of 2022

Passengers may also find some of their journeys during the first few days of 2022 disrupted.

Planned improvement works are taking place around the Victoria Station tram stop between 1 January and 3 January, meaning no trams will be running through Victoria.

Bury line services will terminate at Abraham Moss, Rochdale and Oldham services will go no further than Monsall and trams heading for East Didsbury and the Airport will terminate at Exchange Square and Firswood respectively.

A replacement bus service will be operating on these routes, while signed pedestrian walking routes will also in place and TfGM staff will be deployed to stops to direct passengers to the nearest replacement bus stop.