A special delegation of Greater Manchester’s transport leaders and MPs met with Theresa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport, on Monday to press the case for providing extra carriages on the area’s train services.
Leading members of Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) joined MPs Mark Hunter, John Leech and Graham Stringer for the meeting, which aimed to highlight the need to tackle overcrowded trains as a matter of urgency.
Councillor Ian Macdonald, Chair of GMITA, was joined by Councillor Keith Whitmore, Vice Chair of GMITA, and Councillor Andrew Fender, GMITA’s Labour group leader, for the meeting.
Councillor Macdonald said: “This meeting allowed us to get our points across clearly, and explain the importance to the regional economy of addressing the overcrowding that many passengers already experience on a daily basis.
“The situation is that there is already an overdue need to tackle this problem, but we also need to capitalise on the growth in passenger numbers witnessed in recent years to ensure that our rail services can keep on growing and play an important part in supporting economic growth.
“It was a positive meeting and I am confident that the Minister has a very clear understanding and appreciation of our position – which is that this is a problem that we simply cannot afford to ignore and leave unaddressed.”
Councillor Keith Whitmore, Vice Chair of GMITA, said: “This goes to show that we are not resting on our laurels when it comes to addressing this important and pressing issue. Instead, we are ensuring that it is being given due weight and attention.
“We appreciate that the Government is carrying out a spending review and that decisions on such matters will have to wait until the autumn – but, rest assured, we will continue to demonstrate the strength of feeling across the political spectrum on this issue in the meantime.”
Mark Hunter MP, who chaired the meeting, said: “It was important to put our case directly to the Minister, and she can be in no doubt we will continue to press our case strongly.
“It’s simply unacceptable that so many people have to tolerate over-crowded conditions when travelling by train.”