After the attack on Manchester last week (May 22), providers of public transport in and around the area explained what they have done to help
In the aftermath of the suicide bombing that hit the Manchester Arena on the night of May 22, transport professionals rose to the call of duty, helping stranded members of the public in their hour of need. CBW spoke to a selection of organisations involved.
The city’s largest bus operator, Stagecoach Manchester told CBW it was assisting where it could in the city. Inspectors that were on duty when the incident happened walked from Shudehill Interchange to the Arena on the Monday night. They were some of the first on the scene to help give directions and support to the concert-goers. Police arrived soon after and injured people began to be evacuated from the Arena.
At around 0000hrs, 17 drivers volunteered to help, three of which drove buses to move the walking wounded to hospital, reducing the amount of ambulances that were needed.
Early on the Tuesday morning, Stagecoach Manchester was asked to provide Metrolink tram replacement services from Manchester city centre to Central Park and Queens Road, as Victoria Station was closed. These services remained in place until Monday (May 29).
Stagecoach Manchester has also arranged counselling for members of staff who attended the concert.
Matt Kitchin, Operations Director at Stagecoach Manchester, said: “Our staff have done a fantastic job in responding to the tragedy. As a company we are proud to serve Manchester and have received some wonderful public feedback.
“Like other companies in Manchester, it is very much business as usual for us. We have provided a full service from Tuesday morning, with a few short notice diversions made according to police activity.”
First Manchester provided CBW with a statement from Phil Medlicott, MD at First Manchester, who said: “Whilst our thoughts are still very much with the friends and families of those who were involved in the city centre terrorist attack on Monday evening, I have personally sent a message of gratitude out to staff across Manchester who have helped to quickly respond to this tragedy. From the time the news first came through, the efforts and commitment of our teams and individuals has been commendable. This included helping people flee the incident, ensuring they reached a place of safety, to making drivers and vehicles available to help with the evacuation of survivors from the arena.
“Throughout the early hours of Tuesday morning, colleagues developed diversionary plans and liaised with TfGM to ensure that we were as prepared as we could be to help our customers make their normal journeys.
“Since then, our front-line teams have worked tirelessly in an ever-changing environment to keep Greater Manchester moving.”
Phil Cummins, Area Managing Director at Arriva North West, told CBW: “To commemorate the lives of those lost in the attack on Manchester, our buses operating in the Manchester area will bear the message ‘Standing Strong Together,’ to show our support during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.”
Alex Hornby, Chief Executive Officer at Transdev Blazefield told CBW: “We run two important interurban services into Manchester City Centre from Lancashire in the form of Witchway and Red Express.
“As a team, we felt it important to show our support to the people and city of Manchester who we are so proud to serve. So, rather than displaying our brand logos, we altered our destination screens to show ‘We Love MCR’ and it was tremendously well-received by local people (in both Lancashire and Manchester), our staff and our customers.
“We recognise that as a smaller provider of buses in Manchester this was comparatively tiny in the scheme of things – the major city bus companies did an inspiring job responding quickly as events unfolded – but we were keen to do our bit.”
Transport for Greater Manchester
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) provided travel advice on the Wednesday morning (May 24) following the incident.
Staff from the transport authority encouraged members of the public to use public transport, including the Park & Ride sites to travel into the city centre. All bus services were operating on the Wednesday morning, but some services were being diverted.
Jon Lamonte, Chief Executive of TfGM, said: “I would like to thank the people of Greater Manchester for their patience and courage at this most difficult of times.
“Manchester is open for business and many parts of the transport network are returning to normal following this horrific attack.
“Our team is continuing to monitor the situation and I’d strongly advise anyone looking to travel in and around Greater Manchester to continue to check the TfGM and Metrolink websites and Twitter feeds.”