Further cracks have been found in the bodywork of trams as services on the West Midlands Metro line have been suspended, with the operator saying that it’s for detailed inspections by the manufacturer after bodywork cracks were found on older trams.
Full services had only resumed in February after a stoppage which began in November when cracks were found in some trams. Midland Metro Ltd apologised for the inconvenience.
In a statement, it said: "We want to ensure we have a network that is reliable and safe for everyone and we understand first-hand the impact the suspension of services will have on our customers' daily lives.
"These precautionary inspections will greatly reduce the number of trams available for operation which is why we have had to take the decision to suspend the service. We understand the frustration many people will feel at this latest interruption and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience it may cause."
While it assured customers it was working to restore services as soon as possible, it did say that inspecting all trams will take some time and that they are aiming for this to be completed this week. It said updates would be posted its website and social media channels.
Tickets, it said, would be accepted on some National Express bus services and on West Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast trains between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Responding to the stoppage, Labour Councillor Chris Burden, from Wolverhampton City Council, who is also on the transport delivery committee of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: "It is a scandal,” before going on: "People have come to expect a service that is reliable, that they can get on, they can turn up and go and what has been happening in recent months is not what customers expect."
He called for more government funding to ensure that it is a fully reliable system.