Andy Burnham has confirmed that bikes will be allowed on trams by the ‘end of this year’.

The Greater Manchester Mayor was speaking alongside transport commissioner Vernon Everitt and active travel commissioner Dame Sarah Storey at an event organised by campaign group Walk Ride Greater Manchester and chaired by the Guardian’s North of England editor Helen Pidd.

The mayor also spoke about active neighbourhoods, the bus network, a potential return of the Clean Air Zone after 2025, and an idea to introduce a workplace parking levy – where businesses are charged based on the number of car parking spaces they have.

The Oldham Times: Left to right: Helen Pidd, Vernon Everitt, Dame Sarah Storey, and Mayor Andy BurnhamLeft to right: Helen Pidd, Vernon Everitt, Dame Sarah Storey, and Mayor Andy Burnham (Image: Manchester Friends of the Earth)

Nottingham City Council introduced a levy in 2012, charging workplaces a yearly fee if they provide more than 10 car parking spaces for employees – currently set at £522 – with the goal of raising money for public transport.

Bikes on trams

When questioned about whether bicycles would be allowed on trams, a manifesto commitment from the mayor in 2021, transport commissioner Vernon Everitt replied: “We want that. We’re working really hard. It’s not as easy as it might sound, but we’re going to do it.

“We’re working very closely with Transport for Greater Manchester to do it in a way that is sensible and thoughtful, but we will do it.”

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “I made a commitment that we would have it, we said we’d do it with dogs and we did do that last year and that’s now in. I think it was a manifesto commitment from me last time, and I think it wouldn’t be right to not deliver it in this term.

“By the end of this year, the pilot will have started.”  

ALSO READ: Dogs set to be allowed on trams permanently after successful trial.

A spokesperson for Walk Ride Greater Manchester said:” We welcome the great news that after many decades of campaigning, cycles will be trialled on trams by the end of the year, as announced by Andy at our Destination Bee Network event last night.”

The Oldham Times: Stock photo of a dog on a tramStock photo of a dog on a tram (Image: Pixabay)

Clean Air Zone could return

As well as active travel infrastructure, the Greater Manchester Mayor spoke about the scrapped clean air zone.

The Mayor said: “I don’t think it’s necessarily easy at all there. We’re not turning our face away from clean air. The buses have already been changed, and the buses are the biggest cause of nitrogen dioxide in Greater Manchester. Now 80 per cent of the fleet is compliant. There are more than 100 zero-emission buses on order, so the air is being cleaned – just because it doesn’t take the form of a charging clean air zone.

“I feel that we need to look at issues like a workplace parking levy – I think that has to be on the agenda as we move forward.

“I think learning from the experience with the Clean Air Zone and a decade before with the congestion charge vote, we’ve made a mistake now where we’re constantly asking people to accept an upfront stick before we’ve given them the alternative, and I think that has been a bit of a problem with regard to how we’ve handled things in the past.

“Let’s get the Bee Network fully up-and-running by January 5 2025, and then when the Greater Manchester public have got an alternative, it’s then possible to have a different conversation with them about some of those tougher measures.”

The full event can be watched on YouTube.