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Working groups report growth in patronage

Patronage continues to grow across all networks since the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, recent meetings of UKTram working groups have reported.

In some cities, particularly Edinburgh and Blackpool, the popularity in ‘staycation’ holidays helped improve customer numbers over the summer months, with a marked increase in domestic tourists.

However, members of the UKTram Communications Group say that the number of commuters is still below pre-pandemic levels. In response, operators are looking at more flexible ticketing options for customers who are returning to their offices less frequently or on a part-time basis.

These patronage trends matched reports at an earlier meeting of the UKTram Operations Group, where members also raised the issue of recruitment and retention. Driver shortages due to illness continue to present difficulties for some.

Members also thanked Group Chair Mike Mabey, who retires at the end of October for all he has done for the group and wider sector over many years. A process to elect a new Chair is now underway.

Jamie Swift, UKTram Marketing and Commercial Manager, commented: “From the recent Working Group meetings, it is clear that customer numbers are heading in the right direction.

“However, there are a number of challenges that lie ahead as we emerge from the pandemic and, over the coming months, the working groups will continue to provide a platform for UKTram members to work together on finding effective solutions.

“As part of this, the Communications Group is looking at ways to attract more young people to the sector and will soon be announcing details of event to inspire the next generation of light rail professionals while celebrating the broad range of talent it already benefits from.”

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