It looked a good option….
Travelling to the recent Transport Focus event in Manchester, leaving the car near the M60 and catching Metrolink looked a good option online. The new P+R site at Sale Water Park has plenty of space, good lighting and security fencing, yet I didn’t see a sign to it until I was on the adjacent M60 roundabout. The fact that is was less than a quarter full suggested it has yet to show its potential.
The tram journey into Manchester city centre confirmed this. No problems with the new style ticket machines which clearly lead you to the required ticket but the service is only every 12 minutes. Then it goes only to the bleak interchange station on a viaduct at Cornbrook where connection is made for the limited service which can currently run through the city centre whilst expansion works continue. Only there was no quick connection, the next tram to arrive was only going one stop further which would have been alright for my purposes had I not needed to go to Piccadilly first. On the third tram of the journey, the extent of works became obvious and also their impact on congestion of the surrounding road network.
The same congestion severely affects the bus network over a wide area, the Metroshuttle from Piccadilly shuffled along a bus length at a time but the driver seemed to take it in her stride and helpfully not only advised on the correct stop to alight but also pointed out the shortest walking route to the Museum of Science and Industry venue. Not unexpectedly, congestion was a key theme of an event that also reported Greater Manchester as having the highest level of passengers concerned about personal security when travelling. Thus it was perhaps not a surprise when the Metrolink driver on the return journey made a PA announcement warning a couple of unruly passengers that they were being recorded on CCTV.
In retrospect, it looks like TfGM have done the right thing by not heavily promoting this park and ride option from the M60 yet. Once services through the city centre are implemented, the picture should be a lot different. Buses will also hopefully benefit then although the city really needs to look at traffic light phasing… but that’s a story from another visit a few days later.