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Altrincham and Eccles stranded as links severed

Careful with the planning if you’re a Red or a Lancashire fan

Published on August 4th 2009.

Altrincham and Eccles stranded as links severed

We’ve had this notice sportsters.

Forget the trams.

Of course all of this is in a good cause. Give it a couple of years and we’ll have an all-singing all-dancing system the envy of the world. We hope.

Jump on a bus. Take a cab. Or since you’re sports fans walk, jog, or play keepy-uppy to your stadium of choice.

The problem is this. All the trams to attend fixtures at Old Trafford during August will have disappeared. In fact all tram services to and from Altrincham and Eccles full stop will become the stuff of legend until 31 August.

This is the official story.

‘From August 1-31, trams on the Altrincham and Eccles lines will stop running to allow essential maintenance and engineering work to be carried out.As a result, sports fans will not be able to use the trams to travel to matches or events at Manchester United Football Club or Lancashire County Cricket Club during August. No trams will run to or from the Old Trafford Metrolink stop.

‘Special matchday buses will be running from Fairfield Street (outside Manchester Piccadilly station) and Portland Street (opposite the Ibis Hotel) in the city centre at least two hours before football games start. Return journeys will run from Chester Road and Warwick Road.’

Metrolink tickets will be valid on these services but tickets can also be bought on board the buses. Walking routes will also be signposted. Fans arriving at Manchester Victoria can use special bus link services to Manchester Piccadilly to connect with the matchday buses. For more information, log on to www.gmpte.com.

Of course all of this is in a good cause. Give it a couple of years and we’ll have an all-singing all-dancing system the envy of the world. We hope. Take a read of this Confidential article if you want to get the big picture – click here.

These are the affected games:

  • August 5: Manchester Utd v Valencia (pre-season friendly)
  • August 16: Manchester Utd v Birmingham (Premier League)
  • August 29: Manchester Utd v Arsenal (Premier League)
  • August 30: England v Australia (International Twenty20)

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

anonAugust 4th 2009.

I should probably be fair and give it longer than two days before judging, but... ah hell, the replacement buses are a shambles! Single decker buses? Really? And they're the kind that barely have any seats as well . More room for standing, fit more people on, you might think. But no! Because buses can't have too many people standing by law, unlike the trams which are free to squash as many people on as they like, meaning that the buses end up about half full, but not letting any more people on because they're 'not allowed'. I got on at Piccadilly Gardens at around 7.15 - usually 'quiet time' on the tram, but the buses were already close to full because of the drastic lack of capacity. I realise they've moved the stops so the buses can go in a straighter line, theoretically saving time, but half of the stops don't seem to be anywhere near the tram stops. I feel sorry for the people who get off at Pomona (only about three people a day but still), the buses don't even stop there. And whoever decided it would be a good idea to let people buy tickets on the bus needs a kicking - the bus stopped at 'St Peter's Square' (i.e. Portland Street) for over ten minutes this morning just to let people pay! My whole tram journey to Exchange Quay normally takes that long! Why can't these people just buy passes for Christ's sake, they're the same people I see on the tram every single day anyway so I can't see why anyone would want to spend more money and faff around buying a ticket every single day. Finally there's also the bus drivers that forget where they're going and start driving halfway to Altrincham when they're meant to be going to Eccles (fortunately not happened to me but has happened to at least three people I work with so far!). I was also told by staff at the travel shop that four week passes would be cheaper if the four weeks fell entirely within August. When I went back to buy one, guess what? "Who told you that? That's not right". Full price for this crap? (Buying a reduced return every day is still more expensive than a pass... but passes should be reduced too, it's not fair on the loyal customers - but they know people who buy a pass have no choice but to use their service, so they don't care!)

EmmaAugust 4th 2009.

simple. get the bus. If your going to eccles get the number 33 from outside McDonalds on Oxford Road , it goes straight down regent road and i have found even when the trams were running it was MUCH quicker and cheaper, not as much traffic as you would expect, not as packed as you would expect and much more reliable!

AnonymousAugust 4th 2009.

Funny how when I suggested to GMPTE running buses to Old Trafford on match days to ease congestion on Metrolink , they said it wasn't possible...

Peter RivendellAugust 4th 2009.

Getting to work has been OK but getting home has been different every day - from long waits and having to stand to being one of only a few people on the bus. The X6 route is weird though - takes forever to reach Brooklands.Despite the slight over-organisation of the trams during the city centre closure period, the Metrolink team eventually got it working really well - even during match days and the Take That period. Give them time - mind you, they only have a month...

Forget the replacement busesAugust 4th 2009.

I commute from town to Brooklands each day and thought getting there by bus was going to be a nightmare but in actual fact it hasnt been too bad... I'm not using the replacement bus service, instead i am going from Piccadilly Gardens on the Arriva service 263. Its cheaper and quicker than the replacement bus service (£11 for a weekly pass) and its a double decker that leaves every 10 minutes. It goes through Hulme, Old Trafford, Stretford and then all along Washway road to Altrincham...

ClareAugust 4th 2009.

It is cheaper to buy your ticket on the bus rather than at the ticket machines as they are doing special pricing- don't get ripped off any more than you have to!

RossAugust 4th 2009.

The replacement bus service does not seem to be serving the Salford Quays area well. The replacement bus stop for Salford Quays station is closer to Exchange Quay, and then the next stop at Harbour City is right over on the other side of the Quays. There are bus stops located between these two on The Quays next to the Watersports Centre and Sovereign Point shop that would better serve as a Salford Quays replacement for both local residents, workers and visitors. As it currently stands we are paying more money to you for a more inconvenient and out-of-the-way journey. Allowing these stops to be used would undoubtably please a high number of your customers who are possible already feeling put out by the disruption to their journeys.

McTooni MansionsAugust 4th 2009.

Err...never mind football games. What about all the poor people trying to get to and from work in Manchester? The 'replacement' bus service seems to consist of one single decker bus every 40 minutes during rush hour.

VincentAugust 4th 2009.

I HATE TRAMS!!!Do we know if Liverpool Street will be re surfaced, the amount of potholes on that road could be a world record!

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