Sheffield’s Supertram has lost almost two million passengers in the last year as a result of major engineering works, new figures have revealed.
The city’s tram system carried 12.6 million people during the 2013/14 financial year – down on 14.4 million in the 12 months previously.
A Department for Transport report said the figures had been affected by buses replacing trams during rail replacement work between July and November last year.
Nationally, the numbers of people using trams across England went up two per cent last year, with 227 million journeys recorded.
A spokesman for tram network owner South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said the fall in users had been expected and continuing rail replacement work this year and going on until 2016 means passenger numbers will continue to be affected.
A spokeswoman for Supertram said: “The on-going rail replacement work is vital to protect the long term future of Sheffield’s tram services.
“However, we know the work has caused inconvenience to some of our customers, which is reflected in our passenger numbers for the past year.
“We are moving into the final phase of work for this year and we look forward to attracting even more people on to our services in the future.
“With customer satisfaction at 94 per cent we know the majority of our customers enjoy travelling with us. We have introduced smartcards within the last year and launched our Twitter account and we will continue to make further improvements for our customers in the future.”
Work took place last year between Spring Lane and Park Grange Croft tram stops, while the £32 million scheme has also involved changes to tracks in Gleadless, Halfway and in the Hillsborough/Malin Bridge area.
Ongoing work between Fitzalan Square and Woodbourn Road is expected to be completed by the end of this month in time for the visit of the Tour de France on July 6.
But it will be swiftly followed by more disruption between the Cathedral tram stop and Netherthorpe Road which will start in the second week of July and last until mid-September.
As part of expansion plans for Supertram in the next few years, it is intended a new tram-train service will run between Sheffield and Rotherham from 2016.
The service between Rotherham Parkgate and Sheffield city centre will operate on both the existing tramway and the national rail network once the route is upgraded and new vehicles delivered.