The number of annual passenger journeys across Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network has more than doubled over the past decade, according to figures released by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

The network, operated by KeolisAmey, has grown from 19.2 million journeys in 2010 to 45.5 million in 2019.

The same period also saw a major expansion of the network, with the introduction of 55 new stops, on top of the original 38, and an additional 58km of track, taking the total size of the network to 97km across the region. The number of trams has grown from 36 in 2010 to 120 in 2019, with more set to be introduced throughout 2020.

Real-time passenger information has been enhanced through the introduction of new signalling systems, as well as apps, ticket vending machines and payment improvement schemes – such as zonal fares and contactless payments – broadening the accessibility of the network for customers across the region.

Alistair Gordon, chief executive of Keolis UK, said: “These figures serve as proof that light rail remains a highly popular and growing mode of travel for the UK public.

“We are particularly pleased to have achieved such consistently high levels of passenger growth across the Metrolink network, reflecting the hard work of our dedicated local teams and our ongoing commitment to leveraging international best practice in our UK operations. We are poised for further expansion this year with the opening of the new Trafford Park line, helping to broaden access to public transport even further throughout the Greater Manchester region.”

The figures follow the Metrolink achieving the highest passenger growth of all UK light rail networks last year, with a 6.1 per cent increase in the year to March 2019, from 42.4 million to 43.7 million journeys.

TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said: “Metrolink is a fantastic light rail system that has played a major role in regional development and as we look back over a decade of significant achievement.

“Success on this scale doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a reflection of a lot of hard work and almost £2 billion investment over the last 10 years and, as a system entirely owned, managed and run at a local level, it’s a blueprint for how Greater Manchester could run other transport systems in the future.”

Keolis is the world’s largest operator of tram and light rail systems and is responsible for 68% of annual light rail and tram passenger journeys in England. It has operated the Metrolink in a joint venture with Amey since 2017.