The Greater Manchester Commuters Survey - The Results


At the end of last year we commissioned a survey of 648 Manchester commuters. We were inspired by the high levels of dissatisfaction and grumbling that Manchester’s road and public transport network inspires both in our office and in the wider world of social media and news.


So, we took the roads, the trams and the trains to task by asking users how they felt about them. While not necessarily surprising, the results were certainly not indicative of an efficient transport system. As it turned out, our respondents had rather a lot to say about the “unprepared” Metrolink, “hazardous” bike lanes and “outrageously late” buses. The resulting statistical findings of the survey showed a range of road users united in their overall dissatisfaction with the transport system of Greater Manchester.


Some of Manchester Evening News's traffic headlines from 2014*

As a single group, only 16% of the respondents said they would describe their typical commute as ‘generally satisfactory’ and a mere 7% thought that their commute to Manchester was ‘good value for money’. In this blog we’ve split up the drivers, tram users, train users and cyclists to take a closer look at their responses and their suggestions for improvements. TfGM, take heed!


What the drivers said...


42% of respondents said that they regularly drive into Manchester. Of these, 52% had witnessed a crash during their commute. Asked if they avoid any roads in Manchester, only 7% of driver respondents answered ‘no.’ Below are some of their opinions on Manchester’s roads and how they think they could be improved.


How can the transport system be improved?


“More roads. Less bus lanes. More car parks. Accept that people prefer cars. Cancel the guided bus route and bring the team to Salford & Leigh instead”


“Stop doing roadworks everywhere at the same time [it] causes so much disruption.”


“Take away the bus lanes. Widening of roads where possible; better use of the road space already available. Flow-related traffic signalling.  Better (more frequent) train services.  Bus services that cross the city.”


“Get rid of bus lanes...its absolutely ridiculous having miles of empty bus lanes while there are miles of backed up traffic.”



What the tram users said...


Of the survey’s respondents that use the tram to travel in and around Manchester, a whopping 64% have had their journeys disrupted by works on the tram routes. 56% of these tram users said that they felt the council communicated reasoning behind roadworks ineffectively, while 69% said they thought they thought the council was unprepared for adverse weather conditions. These were some of their comments and suggestions for improvements:


How could the roads and public transport system be improved?


“More trams/double trams at peak times. Phone app with tram times on. Better education for cyclists. More encouragement for people to use public transport”


“When there are roadworks, there needs to be sufficient information about alternative routes. Also, the crossings need to be safer.”


“By introducing an oyster card type system. The biggest issue I have is trams driving off as I’m buying a ticket”


 What’s been done wrong?

“At the first sign of snow and ice there's chaos on the trams. They never seem to see what the rest of us see coming.”



“[Transport authorities] always fail to learn lessons from previous years. Budgeting in the wrong areas most likely to blame”



What the train users said...


Only 7% of train users would describe their commute as time efficient, while 47% said that it was ‘unpleasant and uncomfortable.’ 58% said they felt the council was unprepared for dealing with adverse weather conditions. These were their gripes and suggestions:


What’s been done wrong?


“The trains (Northern Rail) can't cope with leaves.  Considering  the fact that leaves have been around longer than trains, they should have probably combatted this by now by using trains with wheel slide protection. But then again, maybe Northern Rail trains have been around before leaves.”


How can the system be improved?


“More carriages on trains during rush hour.  Also it would be nice if Northern [Rail] didn't reduce the number of carriages in the run up to Christmas. Also reduce weekly/monthly tickets.”


“Open the roads don't shut them. Plan roadworks - been all over Europe and Manchester is worst by far.”


What the cyclists said...


Our cyclist respondents numbered a relatively small, but vocal group. 84% of cycling respondents said that they felt there were not enough cycle routes in the city centre. And 72% had witnessed a crash during their commute. Asked how they might describe their regular commute, 51% said ‘stressful’ and 51% agreed with the descriptor, ‘dangerous’. So, what did the cyclists say?


“Roads are not fit for winter because of damage.”


“Everything comes to a stop in bad weather. Bike lanes get flooded due to poor drainage.”


“Improving conditions for cyclists would mean less cars as people choose to cycle instead. Removal of some on-road parking to make more space for road users. Better, more integrated, public transport system.”


What do you think should be done to improve Manchester’s transport system? Strongly agree or disagree with any of these comments? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, @YouClaimUK.


*Headlines from the following articles:

Image: Love Will Tear Us Apart But #Metrolink Will Bring Us Together (allegedly) courtesy of Duncan Hull. Available from Minor alterations made.

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