Monday 8 April 2013

Manchester Metrolink Misery [2]

The Search for The Holy Grail A Timetable.

See also "Manchester Metrolink Misery [1]" (read again)

Go to Glorious Google ...
... and its all very easy.
Click on "Tram times" and type in "Droylesden" ...
... and we are potentially cooking with gas.
But we're not. First and last trams plus ...
... frequency. But no timetable.  Tray again, search the site ...
... now we are getting somewhere.
There's a leaflet PDF to download ...
"including timetables".
Only there isn't one. It's yet another version of the frequency chart plus ...
... news that the journey time to the City centre is 20 minutes.

Surely there must be a timetable, somewhere?

So, contact Transport for Greater Manchester [TfGM] and ask them. The conversation has been simplified to protect our readers from too much tedium.

 fbb e-mail 
Please can you supply a timetable for the tram network? All I can find on-line is lists of frequencies.

 TfGM reply 
Tram timetables are on our website here (link given)

 fbb e-mail 
As before, I am trying to find a timetable, your site only shows departures. A timetable like you get for buses and trains. Surely your tram drivers know what times they are supposed to observe? (a bit sarcastic, eh?)

 TfGM reply 
I am sorry to hear you are unhappy with the response provided. As the timetable is determined by MRDL who are Metrolinks operator we will have to forward your comments to them so that they can provide you with a substantive response. Transport for Greater Manchester do not determine timetables for bus rail or Metrolink this is the responsibility of the operator in this instance the operator is MRDL. If you are happy to do this please will you provide us with your consent.

If you are able to provide this consent, then we will be more than happy to ensure your comments are passed to the operator for their investigation and direct response to you. A member of our Customer Relations team can be contacted via one of the following:

 fbb e-mail 
Consent? I don't believe it! Consent given!

 TfGM reply 
(presumably a copy of their e-mail to Metrolink itself?) We have received the following feedback in relation to Metrolink Timetables. Please could you address the issues raised by the customer, in line with your internal complaint handling process, and ensure a substantive response is provided direct to the customer. Should the customer have any further comments on this matter, we would recommend that they contact you directly via this email contact.

 Metrrolink reply 
Thank you for your email. Please accept my apologies for the confusion regarding the website. The Metrolink website is owned by the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), and they are responsible for the information therein. We operate to a frequency which is advertised on the website along with the first and last tram times from each station. There is no secrecy in this and the drivers operate to their own individual duty cards, however this can alter due to disruptions to the service. If you require up to the minute information regarding timetables, please do not hesitate to call us on 0161 205 2000 where a member of the customer experience team will be more than happy to help.

 fbb summary 
1. Transport for Greater Manchester owns Metrolink and appoints the concessionaire, RATP. Presumably TfGM specifies the timetable that RATP should operate?

2. TfGM avers that the timetable is the responsibilty of RATP.

3. RATP says that the website belongs to TfGM and is nothing to do with them.

4. RATP says that their drivers do work to a timetable but it might change so we are not telling you.

5. How come Traveline can get hold of a timetable but the passengers can't? Sadly Traveline Northwest only shows little chunks of the timetable; nothing downloadable.

6. Every 12 minutes is probably just outside the "ideal" turn-up-and-go service of every 10 minutes or less.

7. Some people, making a connection with a train, for example, might was to have some idea of when the tram arrives. This is easily provided by way of a timetable.

8. Stagecoach publishes on-line tram timetables for Sheffield, First for Croydon, NET for Nottingham, National Express for Birmingham, Blackpool Transport for Blackpool. It is even possible to find timetables for London bus routes, despite the strenuous efforts of Transport for London to keep them secret.

Of all the bus, train and tram operators, only Manchester Tramlink will not reveal that highly sensitive secret, namely the timetable.

Unless, of course, a blog reader knows of an electronic hidey-hole where the jewels of useful timetable information can be found, possibly hidden in a locked casket guarded by some Tramlink multi-headed Gorgon.
Aha! That's who chum Alan met at Droylesden!

P.S. No timetable for Glasgow Underground.

 Next bus blog : Tuesday 9th April 


  1. I found this on the internet:

    Hope the link works - the gist of it is that, last month, "indicative" Metrolink timetables were released in response to a Freedom of Information request. So if an intending passenger wants to check the timetable, all they have to do is submit an FoI request and wait three weeks. Simples!

    1. The link does work!

      I've also seen FoI requests generate WTTs for London Underground and Network Rail, so not such a daft idea. Having said that more likely to be of interest to enthusiasts than "Joe Public"

      Anyone wanting to start an FoI request try

  2. Bizarrely, the timetables are available on Traveline. If you go the North West section and select one of routes MET1 to MET5 you will find the timetables there (in annoying 5 trip segments). MET1 is Bury-Droylsden. Confusingly MET2 (Altrincham-Bury) and MET3 (Altrincham-Piccadilly) also take you to the same table!

  3. This has always been a stupid problem with Metrolink. I don't see why releasing timetables is hard - GMPTE produced some a while ago and they used to be available in the Travelshop, but this has sadly not continued.

    I certainly use a timetable unless frequency gets to about 5 minute headways. If punctual, you can time leaving the house so you walk onto the platform as a tram arrives. Used to do that on the 5 minute frequency U-Bahn in Hamburg!