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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

All Aboard the Ashton-Under-Lyne Interchange

Friday, 04 September 2020


Since I became Leader of Tameside Council over two a half years ago, one of my main priorities has been building up our local economy and infrastructure, making it easier for all our residents to live, work and travel around the borough. Even during our fight against the coronavirus pandemic we have not wavered from this key task. Last weekend we hit a major milestone as services began running from the brand new Ashton-Under-Lyne Interchange.

Working in partnership with building contractor VINCI Construction UK and funded by Transport for Greater Manchester, the Interchange provides passengers with radically improved amenities and a modern, accessible gateway into Ashton and Tameside as a whole. Once it’s fully up and running, 90% of the town’s bus services will operate from the £32.7 million facility. Over 145 buses will arrive and depart from the Interchange per hour via a mixture of “drive in, drive out” (DIDO) and “drive in, reverse out” (DIRO) stands to maximise the use of space.

Due to its proximity to the train station and Metrolink stop, passengers will be able to easily change between bus, rail and tram services, and the more efficient pedestrian crossings and secure cycle parking spaces will reduce walking time and make cycling easier as well. Other improvements in the Interchange include a fully covered concourse and waiting area, electronic timetables with bus, tram and rail information, high-quality toilets incorporating baby changing and “Changing Places” facilities for commuters with complex disabilities, retail units and CCTV. It’s not just about function either, as artist and sculptor Michael Condron has been recruited to work with local residents to design public art for the concourse that reflects Tameside’s proud industrial heritage.

 

As people begin to return to work and visit our towns to use shops and services again, it’s more important than ever that people feel safe and confident when they travel. That’s why, in keeping with all new Transport for Greater Manchester infrastructure, extensive measures have been put in place within the Interchange to protect commuters from coronavirus. Hand sanitiser dispensers have been installed within the main concourse, and a rigorous anti-viral hygiene regime will see increased cleaning on buses and the Interchange itself alongside litter collections taking place throughout the day. A number of measures to support social distancing such as ground stickers, platform signage and announcements have also been incorporated within the Interchange. While all these will no doubt improve safety and the flow of commuters, I would still ask you to observe the guidelines for using public transport, such as planning ahead, avoiding peak times where possible and remembering that spaces on buses, trains and trams will still be limited due to social distancing. 

The past year has been a challenge unlike anything we have faced in over a century. While it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the back of coronavirus yet, the opening of the Ashton-Under-Lyne Interchange is proof of our commitment to building back a better and greener future. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit we had already successfully delivered a number of ambitious investments under the “Vision Tameside” project to transform our borough, including the redevelopment of our Further Education colleges, Ashton Old Baths and the Tameside Wellness Centre. Making it easier and safer for residents to travel around Tameside will bring all of this together, unlocking greater economic prosperity, increasing employment opportunities and transforming learning and skills in the borough. Building world-leading transport infrastructure is also an important step to helping people to leave their cars at home to reduce congestion, improve air quality and protect our shared environment.

Even as we grapple with the coronavirus pandemic in the present, the opening of the Interchange shows that we are still keeping one eye firmly on the future. My thanks go out to everybody who helped make this new transport hub a reality. I for one can’t wait to make full use of it.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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