Manchester is to receive a £1billion upgrade to its transport systems between now and 2017, Manchester Evening News reports.
The plans will see a series of new tram routes, bus links and rail improvements being brought to the city, aiding commuters and creating the best big-city transport structure in the UK.
The work represents the biggest investment in Manchester’s transport infrastructure since the IRA bomb in 1996.
Some critics argue that upgrading all three systems at once will cause chaos in the city, but proponents see the concurrent works as a good thing, suggesting that a shorter period of coordinated works will help Manchester reap the benefits of transport improvements much more quickly than a series of separate disruptions.
The works will also bring 40,000 new jobs to Manchester and are set to boost the local economy by £5.5 billion.
Amongst other things, we will see a second tramline crossing the city centre, an upgraded Victoria train station and improvements to bus lanes along the Oxford Road corridor.
These measures seek to aid current congestion, offering a greater, more flexible number of services and increasing capacity on buses, trains and trams.
Even without these new works taking place, Manchester Metrolink has now become the biggest tram system in the country, with a total of 77 stops. This number is set to increase, with a new stop planned on Exchange Square, at the heart of the city. Once the proposed works are completed, commuters will also be able to use the tram system to get to and from Manchester Airport, ensuring that not only national, but also international, transport links will be improved by these extensive changes to Manchester transport.
The system will also benefit from a new payment method similar to that of the London Oyster card, which will be called “Get Me There” and will allow passengers to pay for travel across all the various types of transport. “Get Me There” is already being rolled out across the tram network and it’s hoped that buses and trains will also be fully equipped to use it by the end of 2015.
The news can only be positive for city centre dwellers as there will be less need for a car and more possibilities to travel in and out of Manchester via this expansive public transport network, making city living even more attractive.
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