Manchester Metrolink’s first ‘free wi-fi’ tram debuts to mixed reviews – with some branding it ‘useless’

By David Aspinall

Manchester’s first free ‘wi-fi’ tram began its trial period on Friday, yet has been met with mixed responses from Metrolink passengers in its first week of service. 

Tram 3054 is run by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and is running across all routes on the Metrolink service to ensure the system in place will work across all areas of the network, whether they are urban or rural.

When asked about the feedback received so far, a spokesperson for TfGM said: “The feedback from passengers has been good.

“Issues that have been flagged up on Twitter have been noted and will be addressed.

 “This trial might suggest further work that needs to be done. If it gets given a clean bill of health we can work on the next steps.”

However some frustrated passengers took to social media and provided their experience so far, with one tweeting: “Your wi-fi tram was useless this morning. Hope this helps.”

When MM asked for specific details the passenger, @RobSkilbeck, replied: “Allowed you to log on but then froze and hung, had to switch back to 3G.”

Initial reaction to the wi-fi trial was mixed, with some users tweeting their excitement.

Twitter user @Kinswah said: “The Metrolink has free wi-fi. I shouldn’t like trams so much and this shouldn’t be the highlight of my day. But it is.” 

Yet, some believe there are more pressing issues to be improved first.

“Reliable trams wld b bttr!” tweeted @TheGirlLuvShoes.

One of the main concerns for commuters has been the cost, with @lucyhigginsx commenting: “I would rather metrolink put the prices of their tickets down than put free wifi on their trams to be honest.”

On the question of potential costs, the TfGM spokesperson advised: “Costs are being funded by a Department for Transport grant.

“The wi-fi is free for passengers.”

In addition to the wi-fi tram trial, TfGM is working with Manchester City Council to establish free wi-fi across 14 locations across the city, including St Peters Square, Albert Square and the Arndale shopping centre.

If you have any comments regarding this trial, or the service in general, there is a Q & A with Peter Cushing, director of Metrolink, from 5.00pm today on the TfGM Twitter homepage.

Image courtesy of David Burrell via Flickr, with thanks.

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