Ministerial visit for Metrolink

Welsh transport bosses took a fact-finding tour of Metrolink ahead of a £5bn contract to operate and develop their country’s transport infrastructure.

Ken Skates, Wales’ Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, visited Trafford Depot to learn about the successes achieved and challenges faced by operator KeolisAmey (KAM) during their first year operating the UK’s largest light rail network.

As well as a chance to ride on the network, the tour also included visits to the tram maintenance workshop as well as a presentation on lessons learned during the first year of the Metrolink contract.

Transport Secretary Ken Skates, said: “Through Transport for Wales, we have some transformative plans for rail services in Wales and this extremely informative visit has given me an insight into what we can expect in future. Our priority is customer satisfaction and I was impressed by Metrolink and Transport for Greater Manchester’s strong working relationship as well as their commitment to providing customers with a reliable, high quality service.”

The visit took place ahead of KeolisAmey’s takeover of the Wales and Borders franchise from Arriva Trains Wales. KeolisAmey is a joint venture partnership of leading global public transport operator, Keolis, and infrastructure asset management specialist, Amey.

The 15 year contract – which commences on October 14 – will also require them to oversee a major programme of changeof the rail network and deliver the long-promised South Wales Metro.

During the visit, Ken was joined by Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive of Transport for Wales Rail Services and Aline Frantzen, Managing Director of KeolisAmey Metrolink.

He was also joined by Chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, Councillor Mark Aldred. He said: “We’ve seen Metrolink change significantly since the arrival of KAM with notable improvements in service reliability, incident response, customer communication and safety management.

“These improvements have not gone unnoticed by customers, with passenger satisfaction rates increasing, complaints reducing and annual patronage rising to 42 million.

“This event was a great opportunity for our colleagues in Wales to see the benefits that our partnership with KAM has brought. It is an honest and open relationship with client and contractor where problems are shared and both organisations are focused on delivering improvements for the benefits of our passengers.”

In July 2017, KeolisAmey took over as operator and maintainer of the Metrolink network – the UK’s largest light rail system.

Since taking over as operator and maintainer of Metrolink – the UK’s largest light rail system – KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM) has recruited dozens of people into roles, including Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), drivers and TravelSafe Officers and delivered significant operational improvements in areas such as punctuality, service delivery and cancellations.

Aline Frantzen, Managing Director at KAM, said: “Customers can see and feel the improvements we’ve made in just one year as part of our vision to keep Greater Manchester moving and growing every day.

“It was an honour to be able to demonstrate to the Minister how we made those improvements – through fantastic employees, a transparent and collaborative culture where people aim to do the right thing and by expanding the organisation, we’re delivering a stronger network.”