Future of Metrolink up in the air
- RATP Dev 'not preferred bidder' for Metrolink.
- Decision on 20 year contract 'imminent'
- Lib Dems claim the decision is 'massive for Rochdale'
The company running Metrolink could lose it's contact according to a report made by it, RATP DEV, to Companies House. The company have run Metrolink since 2007. A public Companies House strategic report said that the company was "assessing its options in response to information received from Transport for Greater Manchester that it is not the preferred bidder".
The company is one of four bidding to run Metrolink from 2017. Three other companies - KeolisAmey, National Express and Transdev - are bidding to operate Metrolink from 2017 to 2027. The report said RATP Dev would transfer staff to its other branches if its Greater Manchester services were closed.
Lib Dem leader Councillor Andy Kelly said: "Metrolink is by no means perfect but I believe that RATP Dev have done an excellent job as the tram system was extended to Milnrow, Newhey and Rochdale. I have always found them helpful and willing to act on residents' concern. I believe that Transport for Greater Manchester's imminent decision on the future operator for Metrolink is absolutely critical. It's massive for Rochdale as its at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and improving our light rail system will help our Borough compete with the rest of the region."
Earlier this year, Councillor Kelly wrote to all four bidders making recommendations for improvements to Metrolink services. This included making the tram every six minutes instead of every 12, improving the safety of stations and investing in additional car parking in places like Newhey. He even recommended allowing dogs on trams after complaints from residents.
Kelly said: "Liberal Democrats have been at the heart of the campaign to deliver and improve Metrolink in Rochdale and the Pennines. It was us that ran the local campaign to extend it here in the first place after Blair's Labour Government broke an election promise. Metrolink has increased house prices and made a real difference to how people get around our town. I am pleased that RATP Dev are committed to relocating jobs if they lose the contract. I have said it before though - I will support the bidder who delivers the best deal for our borough."