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New Year message from James Hammett, Managing Director of UKTram Wednesday January 4, 2023

The past year has seen the light rail sector rise to numerous challenges, but in 2023 colleagues can look to the future with fresh optimism.

Members of our Operations Group recently reported that patronage continued to rise across the country as more people returned to workplaces following the Covid-19 pandemic, and there are good reasons to suggest this trend will continue.

Operators are also adapting well to changing travel patterns and, at the same time, developing innovative ticketing options that offer customers increased flexibility while helping them to save money during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

This difficult economic climate will no doubt present fresh challenges across the sector, but UKTram remains committed to helping members find solutions to rising costs, and over the months ahead our procurement working group will be looking at areas where savings can be made.

The development of new technology, particularly in relation to very light rail and ultra-light rail, also presents significant opportunities for the sector, and in 2023 we can expect several new projects across the country to start taking shape.

As we reported a few weeks ago, the UKTram Centre of Excellence is working with local authorities in a number of towns and cities, including in Bath, Bristol, Stoke-on-Trent, Folkstone and the Isle of Wight, on finding the most cost-effective solutions to their transport needs.

We will also continue to build on our strong links with the Department for Transport and key decision makers as we continue to promote our acclaimed strategy for the future of light rail in the UK, which can be viewed here.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to offer all our members, partners and colleagues best wishes for the New Year, and to assure them that we will continue to work tirelessly to promote a mode of transport that offers a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits.