‘Pingdemic’ forces Metrolink to bring in reduced tram timetable across the network

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Metrolink is to introduce a reduced timetable from this Friday in response to staff absence caused by the so-called pingdemic.

The temporary change will see trams run every 12-minutes across the network, with all available vehicles used to provide as much capacity as possible and ‘double’ trams operating along the busiest lines.

Metrolink added that “where possible, and subject to staff availability, additional services will run at the busiest times”.

Staff for the operator, KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM), are continuing to work extremely hard in very challenging circumstances, Metrolink said.

But delays have been a factor of the recent service as more and more staff have gone off work with coronavirus, or have been “pinged” and forced to self-isolate.

It’s expected that the reduced service will be in place throughout August, with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) looking to bring in more frequent services by the times the schools reopen in early September.

TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said: “I think everyone is aware that the ‘pingdemic’ is having a significant impact across multiple sectors, including transport.

“We have been working really hard to keep people moving, but the reality is staff absences are impacting services.

“Moving to a temporary 12-minute frequency will ensure we can operate a more reliable service and alleviate some of the pressure staff are under, which is extremely important for their own wellbeing.

“I’d like to reassure passengers we will add extra trams where we can and will be aiming to return to a more frequent service at the start of September. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but hope that our customers understand and bear with us at this time.”

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