Transport for Greater Manchester is offering discounted travel on its Metrolink tram service in a bid to cut congestion on the cityâ€™s road network.
As part of a pilot scheme running until Christmas, TfGM is offering â€˜Early Birdâ€™ tickets available from the start of service until 7.30am at a cost of Â£1, compared to a typical daily cost of Â£3.
An Early Bird Plus ticket is also available Â for Â£3, offering unlimited travel on all Metrolink tram services from start of service until 7.30am plus unlimited travel between 1pm and 3.30pm and from 7pm until the end of service.
The pilot pricing scheme is being aimed at the â€˜thousands of seasonal, part-time and shift workersâ€™ expected to be employed in city businesses ahead of the festive period.
It is being trialled as part of the Greater Manchester Mayorâ€™s Congestion Deal, encouraging commuters to change their travel behaviour to reduce congestion across the city region.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: â€œCongestion is a major problem that is affecting peopleâ€™s lives on a daily basis.
â€œAdditional trams and tram lines, improved cycling and walking infrastructure and the Manchester and Salford Inner Relief Route works will all help in the long run, but they will take time to bear fruit.
â€œThe Early Bird is one of a range of measures being introduced to help improve things here and now and in advance of the busy festive period, making it easier for people to re-time their journey and avoid the traffic by trying the tram.â€
Proposals are currently being drawn up to combat exceedances of the legal NO2 level across Greater Manchester on behalf of seven of the regionâ€™s ten authorities, obligated through the governmentâ€™s NO2 plan (see airqualitynews.com story).
A draft Clean Air Plan for Manchester is expected to be presented before Christmas, with a finalised plan likely to be available in early 2019.
Greater Manchesterâ€™s Combined Authority has recently launched an awareness campaign â€“ fronted by a website www.cleanairGM.com offering advice to businesses, residents and local authorities on how to address air pollution.
The website will also give latest details on the development of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.
Modelling published by the Combined Authority last month suggested that future levels of air pollution are forecast to be worse than previously thought, with as many as 152 stretches of road across the city region likely to be in breach of legal limits for concentrations of NO2 beyond 2020 (see airqualitynews.com story).
This is more than had been previously assumed based on data and modelling from the governmentâ€™s Pollution Climate Model, which is used to assess progress towards legal air quality objectives.