Supertram is celebrating its 25th anniversary of connecting people to jobs, education and leisure in South Yorkshire.
1995 saw Sheffield Britpop heroes Pulp dominate the charts, Sheffield Wednesday play in the Premiership and the Leadmill open ‘til 6am for the first time. A lot may have changed since then but, 25 years on, Supertram remains a Sheffield institution, connecting people to places across the Steel City and beyond and playing a vital part in our public transport network.
The only zero-emissions mass transit system in South Yorkshire, over the last 25 years Supertram has welcomed over 304 million passengers - enough people to fill both the Sheffield United and Wednesday grounds 4,500 times. Travelling more than 62 million kilometres around Sheffield and, with the addition of Tram Trains in 2018, to and from Rotherham, our trams have taken on the equivalent distance of a trip to Mars. It’s even been used for wedding transport.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE) Director of Transport Operations, Pat Beijer, said: “The Supertram is iconic to Sheffield, an asset for the region, and has become so much more than a beloved mode of transport for many passengers. For over 25 years, it’s been a vital part of our integrated public transport network, and continues to contribute towards a greener future, with the potential to take hundreds of thousands of cars off the roads.
“We’re proud of our Supertram because it’s a safe, reliable, and fully accessible mode of transport. The network provides clean, convenient and carbon-free connections across the city and, more recently, to Rotherham - helping to ease congestion and improve air quality. At a time when the region has declared a climate emergency, Supertram provides an invaluable solution.
“Surveys show that nearly 100% of Supertram customers are satisfied with their journey. A very impressive number, and one that demonstrates the importance of this system to local people.
“Twenty-five years on and the tram is still contributing to the region’s economy and fulfilling its growing role in the regeneration of key areas of the Sheffield City Region.
“South Yorkshire has always been at the forefront of rail innovation and with quarter of a century under the belt, Supertram has rightly earned a pride of place in that history.”
Sheffield’s history with trams dates back to the late 19th Century. Connecting the suburbs to the city centre, the tram was considered the ideal way to overcome the city’s steep hills. In the 1980s and 1990s, SYPTE supported the development of a new light rail system, at the time the largest public transport structure project in England outside London, which fully opened on 23 October 1995.
The tram network belongs to SYPTE, but Stagecoach has been running it commercially since 1997. It provides reliable and frequent links through its four colour coded routes – including UK’s first ever Tram Train. The system currently serves 50 stops in Sheffield and Rotherham, covering 22 miles. With a network of Park and Ride sites along its routes, it’s easy to connect to the Supertram even if you don’t live near the lines.
Tim Bilby, Managing Director for Stagecoach Supertram, said: “We are proud to help millions of passengers get to work, go to school, colleges and universities and stay in touch with family and friends every day.
“As we mark 25 successful years, we’d like to thank all of our customers and pay tribute to our staff for helping Supertram play such a crucial role in keeping our region connected.
“Anniversaries are a great time to reflect but also to look forward. We are proud to be a trusted part of daily life for local people, and Supertram will continue to be central to the future of our economy, protecting our environment and keeping communities moving, as our region works towards recovery from Covid-19.”