The number of Manchester tram fines in 2023 was thousands more than the previous year

There were more than 80,000 tram fines across Greater Manchester last year – a rise of 60% on the previous 12 months – official figures reveal.

A total of 82,304 tram fines across the city region were issued between 8 January 2023 and 6 January 2024 – a 43% increase compared to the previous year – according to a freedom of information response from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

Between the dates of 8 January 2022 and 7 January 2023 there were 50,180 fines issued.

TfGM issues its penalty figures on a 28-day basis.

Jamie, who moved to the area in January, said: “I’ve seen a lot more officers recently and been stung £60 when I wasn’t expecting it when they got on at Cornbrook.” 

Tram officers have been enforcing more than 30,000 additional fines over the past year, compared to the previous annual review.

The highest number of tram fines issued in a month was 8,815, issued in two consecutive periods: 17 September to 14 October, and 15 October to 11 November 2023. 

That figure is more than twice the amount issued between 28 May and 24 June 2023, when just 3,801 fines were issued.

The most tram fines issued in 2022 was between 18 September and 15 October, when there were 6,024 fines handed out.

Picture courtesy: Jo Hornby

Tram user Jo Hornby said: “I only see tram officers on the route to the Trafford Centre, they get on around Village and there has been more than half a dozen of them when I’ve been on recently.”  

Manchester’s trams are run by the Bee Network. You can pay for the service by touching in and out using contactless, via the Bee Network App where you can purchase a ticket for selected zones over a certain duration, or with tickets or season tickets. 

The process is to tap on at the platform you are departing from and only tap out once you’ve reached your destination, not to tap if you are changing lines. 

Weekly tram user Izzy Bushell said: “It’s not very clear. There was a time when I just recently moved here and I tapped out on my changing stop. I got fined £40.  

“When these ticket men came round and they scanned my phone on the machine it said I hadn’t tapped in but I had, I just tapped out too early. It’s not made too clear.”

Another regular tram user, Chris Machell, said: “I use the app to purchase my ticket and find it a very effective way of paying and getting around travelling from the Quays to the city centre.”

Chris added: “Although there is a presence of officers, I’ve never seen anyone getting fined.” 

Olivia Stephens said: “I usually travel into St Peter’s Square and although I haven’t been fined myself, there’s an increase in officers on the trams and on the platforms.

“Officers are now in plain clothes and when on my way to Piccadilly station I saw them grab a lad who clearly hadn’t paid.

“As everything is contactless, the older generation may not see the ticket machines – but some colleagues of mine have been fined before and some students try their luck too.”

The price for a tram does vary, depending on the zones you select and go through.

In Manchester there is no discount for students, which is highly disputed amongst riders – but even though the younger people have to pay, there is a pensioner pass for those over 66 according to Manchester City Council. 

Pensioner Paul Frimston said: “I pay annually £10 for a pensioner’s pass giving us access to the whole tram and local train system in Greater Manchester.

“Bee Network being an integrated system is well overdue for a city like Manchester.”

The city of Manchester is not the only place using trams, with Sheffield, Tyne and Wear, Nottingham and Blackpool all operating the service.

It is difficult to compare Manchester’s fines to other cities as data comes in different time frames.

However, Manchester’s 82,304 fines in 2023 was significantly more than 23,792 fines in Tyne and Wear between 26 March 2022 and 31 March 2023. This is even higher in comparison to Edinburgh’s fines in 2022, when only 8,323 fines were handed out.

But it is a different story in other cities in England such as Blackpool.

Eric and June Jenkinson from Blackpool said: “Conductors are always on the tram and go around the city including the promenade which is a good service that you tap on and off.”

Due to the number of officers, there have been no fines at all issued by Blackpool Transport on any of the lines in the whole year of 2023, according to Blackpool Council.  

Featured Image: Ollie Dennett

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