One of the things I looked forward to most about moving back to Manchester was the quality of the public transport. I grew up with the Metrolink and rarely used the Bus. Subsequently living in London left me with a sense of how convenient and reliable a bus network could be. So it was a bit jarring to then spend nine years in Coventry, forced to rely on a bus network that could be fairly described as atrocious.
But I’m now face-to-face with some of the things that are extremely disappointing about the Metrolink. The massive extension of the network is let down by how absurdly long some of the journeys are, due to the tram being so much slower than a train. I’m writing this blog post for something to do as I wait at length for a Sunday service, one which will terminate at the edge of the city and won’t go into it. The complete outages are surprisingly frequent, though to be fair usually announced far in advance. It’s left me reflecting on why it is that this station only has two ticket machines, one of which was swallowing money without returning it last time I was here. Plus one of them had been near unusable because nothing has been done to fix the graffiti on it which has been in place for at least two months:
I’d still rather be here than Coventry. I’d still rather be waiting for a metrolink than the bus. But I’m nonetheless realising that this potentially excellent transport system doesn’t live up to the perception of it that I formed when I was growing up with it.