Stay a while on tram trips

The Flexity 2 tram outside the North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood
The Flexity 2 tram outside the North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood

A LEADING Fleetwood trader says the town is not feeling the full benefit of the new £100m tram service running every 10 minutes at peak times.

Derek Eaton, chairman of Fleetwood Chamber of Trade, says the increased number of tram trips to the town has the potential to boost trade for shops.

However, Mr Eaton has raised concerns that many of the tram visitors are completely missing out on the town centre and even the seafront by going straight to Fleetwood Market – and then going straight back out again.

The businessman, who runs the Lighthouse Stationers on North Albert Street, believes special signs located at the tram stops could help sign-post visitors to other attractions not just the market.

He told the Weekly News: “Many visitors get off the tram at Victoria Street, go to the market, and afterwards queue up at the tram stop outside Fleetwood Library to go straight back out. Some of them even get tired of waiting and cross the road to catch the next tram north, past the North Euston, round the loop and back to Blackpool.

“They might even catch a glimpse of our seafront as they look out of the window at Euston Park, on their way back southwards again.

“This is no good for Fleetwood and we need to try and do something about it.

“I think our town is benefiting in a small way from the new trams and the summer schedule, but not nearly as much as it should be.”

He also believes that signs into Fleetwood at the Eros statue needed to steer visitors to the seafront via the town centre rather than directing them to the promenade via Broadwater and away from the high street.

The new trams are certainly proving a success with tourists, however. Blackpool Transport says passenger numbers have exceeded expectation since the Bombardier trams were introduced in April.

Blackpool Transport managing director Trevor Roberts said: “The trams have become very popular and are carrying numbers well ahead of expectations so fa -including many local residents. With our saver ticket it gives flexibility with our buses.”