Paris-based RATP, which runs the city's metro and bus systems, has taken over the running of Manchester's tram network.

"/> Paris-based RATP, which runs the city's metro and bus systems, has taken over the running of Manchester's tram network.

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Manchester trams to get a French accent

Paris-based RATP, which runs the city's metro and bus systems, has taken over the running of Manchester's tram network.

Manchester trams to get a French accent
G-Man

The announcement was made on Tuesday morning on the London Stock Exchange after current operators, Stagecoach, withdrew halfway through a contract that was due to end in 2017.

The timing caused surprise as the network, known as Metrolink, is in the middle of a £1.4 billion (€1.6 billion) expansion programme.

Trams will now be run by RATP Dev UK, a subsidiary of government-owned RATP.

The Manchester tram network was opened in 1992 and carries 20 million passengers a year on 40 kilometres of track.

“Metrolink is one of the UK’s most successful tram networks, so we are naturally delighted to join with the existing team to be able to bring our expertise and know-how to continue its further development,” said Paul Matthews, chief executive of RATP Dev UK.

In France, some seemed less than thrilled at the news. “Will they import our strikers as well?” asked one commenter on Le Figaro’s website. Another said “RATP would do better to improve their current network rather than investing elsewhere.”

RATP is one of the world’s biggest transport companies with operations in 12 countries. Its UK subsidiary is already well-established with 3,000 employees and revenues of more than €220 million. The company runs buses in London, Bath and Bournemouth.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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