On Thursday this week FOWS volunteers conducted a count of passenger numbers from the first train at 06.29 through to 13.30, with the objective of collecting up-to-date figures to compare with historic data provided by GMPTE.
A Thursday was chosen for the survey as it is usually a fairly “average” day of the week for passenger numbers, although the day turned out to be quieter than usual (with the lowest booking office takings of the week), possibly in reaction to the extensive delays suffered the previous day when a train failed at Salford Crescent.
The total number of passengers boarding or alighting was found to have fallen from 418 last year to 388, but dividing the day into Peak (07.30 – 09.30) and Off-Peak (09.30 – 13.30) revealed that people travelling toward Manchester during Peak hours had risen by 10% from 157 to 172, whereas Off-Peak numbers had dropped from 91 to 75.
The rise in Peak travel numbers will surely come as no surprise to regular users of the station, but the drop in Off-Peak numbers is puzzling considering that free Off-Peak travel has been introduced since last year’s survey.
During the survey:
- all 27 services ran and departed within 4 minutes of schedule
- almost half of all services were operated with the unpopular “Pacer” (class 142) type of train
- 25 out of the 27 trains had only 2 carriages, two trains had 4 carriages
- the busiest train was the 08.01 to Manchester which was boarded by 72 passengers
- considering that the 08.01 was a 2-carriage train and already carrying standing passengers when it arrived, it is remarkable that all passengers were able to board and the train was (obviously) extremely crowded.
Full details of the survey will be published on the FOWS website shortly.