NEWS | Metrolink has been ‘giant social experiment’ admit Transport for Greater Manchester

February 9, 2012



Can you see the hidden camera in that JD Sports advert? It's watching you getting more and more pissed off.

Transport for General Manchester (TfGM) has revealed that for the past seven years the Metrolink transit system has actually been a massive social experiment.

The scientific study, completed in partnership with The University of Manchester and partially funded by The Government, was designed to study the long-term resilience and reaction of the general public in the face of relentless adverse conditions.

“The Government approached us in 2004 with a pot of cash”, said TfGM’s Director of Operations Marsha Sparvagn. “They wanted to replicate the kind of harsh and unpleasant conditions the public may have to face if Britain ever faced a national decline, possibly due to a natural or social disaster, and see how they coped. We’re always up for a giggle so we gave it a whirl.”

Between 2005 and 2012 TfGM enacted a plan which involved subjecting the public to daily unpleasant and mentally disturbing situations, with a team of scientists at The University of Manchester carefully monitoring the results.

“It was just a case of working out what pissed people off”, said Sparvagn. “We have around 300 trams available at Metrolink HQ, but we tend to always send out between 60 and 90 each day just to make sure they were extremely busy and infrequent. And those incredibly dirty, smelly people who come and sit next to you? Actors. We even have around 800 children employed to play the part of obnoxious school kids who are told to swear at you as you attempt your commute. Needless to say, a light dusting of snow doesn’t stop a tram. But it was one of around 70 fake reasons that we used to needlessly stop trams for an hour or two at a time.”

“We always presumed we’d be caught out well before the study was due to conclude”, admitted Sparvagn. “I find it amazing how the public didn’t cotton on to the fact that this was a clearly a test. Constant swallowing of money by ticket machines, zero adherence to timetables, at least three breakdowns a day? We thought we were being too obvious. And we assumed that most people would guess that the complete lack of any digital display giving you information about forthcoming trams was a sure sign that we were fucking with you. Have you ever seen any mass transit system without that type of technology? And yet people seemed fooled by it all.”

Sparvagn smiles when recalling one technique employed during the experiment.

“Some evenings at the Piccadilly Metrolink station we’d just send out tram after tram after tram all to Altrincham. We would use hidden cameras to watch the passengers waiting for Bury and Eccles trams getting more and more irate, yet their patience was astonishing. Some would wait for up to two hours before wandering off to find alternative transport. Never once did they seem to suspect that this was an experiment.”

“We’re amazed at the results”, said Professor Stephen Manderson, who leads The University of Manchester’s Social Research Department.

“Identical experiments were set up at the same time in Bonn, Germany and Arequipa in the Southern region of Peru. In both cases the public reaction was so strong that the experiments were called off after 12 and 18 months respectively. Bonn even saw some rioting. There is certainly something about the will, determination and never give up attitude of the Mancunian mindset which meant we could carry on the experiment for the full seven years. These people would piss in the face of social breakdown.”

The Government is set to use the Metrolink study findings in a new advisory paper on how our armed forces personnel cope with living for months on end in war-torn regions such as Afghanistan and Iraq.


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141 Comments on “NEWS | Metrolink has been ‘giant social experiment’ admit Transport for Greater Manchester”

  1. Mike Says:

    That’s not half as bad as the work the council have been doing on trying to stop people cycling!


    • bergkonig Says:

      That’s so true, I complained that the cycle lane dissapeared on Hyde Road where the road narrows underneath the Fallowfield Loop (near Debdale Park / Tanyard Brow bus stop) Solution Cyvle Lane REMOVED COMPLETELY


  2. Anonymous Says:

    I fucking knew it! I had to stop getting on at the new Chorlton stop because the tram became covered in beard debris and Guardian trimmings. It was unbearable most days. Almost like being in a tin can full of Noah and the Whaletards. Those little tinkers at BFG or whatever got me proper good.


  3. Bobj Says:



  4. Paul Says:

    All the trams to Altrincham? thats a joke. The ‘experiment’ must be to watch as Eccles and Chorlton trams come by, and about 5 people get on them as the platform is heaving waiting for the Altrincham tram.


    • Altrinchamite Says:



    • Danny M Thompson Says:

      Definitely not true, I’ve stood waiting for an Eccles tram and seen three DOUBLE trams pass by me, all to Altrincham, on a daily basis, not once in a blue moon. An absolute piss take.


    • James Says:

      Here’s to the ignorant Altrincham lot who stand in the way and never have the common courtesy to look to see if anyone wants to get on a Didsbury or Eccles tram.

      Also a quick nod to those who open umbrellas as soon as they step off the tram straight into my eye, thanks.


      • Tom Says:

        Just an idea. Don’t stand right at the doors as people get off and maybe the umbrella wont end up blinding you.

  5. Ben Greenwood Says:

    It seems they’ve expanded into Wythenshawe with this experiment but from a different angle. Five years of shutting off random roads and the like, creating traffic jams where none should be and digging up green areas…just to see how we’ll cope!


    • louise Says:

      haha you’ve seen the signs saying we apologise for the disruptions which will last until 2016 too then! They’ve dug up my road which is a mile away from where the tram will be going


  6. Anonymous Says:

    What a load of crap! I don’t believe a word of this article, who on earth would put ‘fuck’ in a new article?!


  7. Sazzle Says:

    Knew it! ha ha


  8. Anonymous Says:

    what are the digital displays for?


    • Anonymous Says:

      It depends on which device they are attached. The one I have attached to my Difference Engine tell me when the cogs need oiling.


  9. martine Says:

    I dont believe it either! are they implying that all those that relied on trams to get them into work each and everyday and who could potentially loose their jobs for being constantly late where really being fooled? Is taking part in an experiment without permission legal? If this was all some random horrible hoax then why where people getting fines??? Horrible government life at the moment is hard enough for most people without being messed about with as a joke to see how we would cope? Employing 800 kids to swear at travellers!!!! what sort of message has that given the general public of the youth of today??? Opinions are already bad enough of our young ones….No im not sure i believe this and it has angered me greatly. What about the people who have been attacked, raped and assaulted whilst waiting for trams of which some have been in the news and the papers!!! Is this a joke also??? This has really bloody angered me. Pathetic.!


  10. Anonymous Says:

    So you’re telling me, that people were charged approx 5-6 pounds before 9.30am for a SOCIAL experiment?! Just to be pissed about and made to look a fool, with the possibility of even losing their jobs?! IF this article is true (and if that’s the case will make local news) there will be an uproar and everyone who ever used the metrolink service will demand some sort of compensation. I for one, would rather go the long way round and spend an extra half an hour on a bus, then get the metrolink again.


  11. Esther Nagle (@Esthernagle) Says:

    Genius, absolute genius!

    Loving the indignant comments, almost funnier than the article itself!!! 🙂


  12. Anonymous Says:

    Can’t believe people are actually commenting on this as if it was real!

    Get a brain you bunch of nobs.


  13. Anonymous Says:

    Dont fret folks, generally the people posting comments regarding the articles accuracies are too busy drinking Special Brew and brushing the dried up vomit off their Ugg boots and tracksuits.


    • 37201xoIM Says:

      Top comment! Top article too. I moved here from Newcastle where we’ve had an excellent Metro for 30 years – and we’ve only just learnt last year that if we privatise its operation we too can achieve the same excellence that private operations have achieved on Metrolink… Timetables are for wimps!


  14. Anonymous Says:

    Hah. Spot on!

    Can’t believe how stupid some people are to believe this article though.


  15. Anonymous Says:

    Jeez, theres some right ‘tards on ere tonight! Their comments are almost as funny as the article! Hahahaha!


  16. Anonymous Says:

    It says it all about Metrostink that people can read this article and believe it.


  17. Methead Says:

    It’s like Aids. Only yellow.


  18. Anonymous Says:

    What about the tram stop with no rails? I can see the funny side now ha ha!


  19. Newsy J Says:

    My Granny (Elsa McCracken) was sent to that women’s nick what Mario Balotelli visited, all because of Metrolink.

    All for taking her anger out on a conductor during this ‘experiment’. The poor woman fought for this country (during that dead bad war in the olden days) and now she’s doing a three month stretch in Styall. The stupid git (whom she claims was German) demanded to see her OAP’s pass when she borded at Besses O’Th Barn, to which she replied, ‘just a moment, kind sir.’

    He literally grabbed her by the rinse, and pulled her from the tram, demanding to see her credentials or face a minimum fine of 300DM (Deutsch Marks) for non-complience. Needless to say, she whacked the frigger around his chops with her Emily Hannah Originals Club walking rod. And rightly ruddy so, if you ask me.

    So off Heinrich goes, to das powers what be.. and lo an’ behold, just as she’s secklin’ down to watch Corrie the following Friday, she gets a knock from the boys in blue AKA pigs.. Six months it went on. Six bloody months. All because her poor arthritic left shoulder wouldn’t allow her to withdraw the specific documentation in time. They asked her in court: if her arm was so bad then how did she manage to muster up such force, that Joe DiMaggio himself would have sloped off for a sneidy ‘power wank’ in celebration.

    I won’t rest until I see justice for the lovely old dear (with only one previous conviction). So help me God.

    Metrolink – you’ve made a very powerful enemy.

    p.s. Out of interest, when will your new station at East Didsbury be opening? Be handy.


  20. Anonymous Says:

    all sounds very silly to me


  21. Phillip Purdy Says:

    What’s a tram again?


  22. Anonymous Says:

    I knew this news article was fake, Bonn doesn’t even have a tram system! there’s one in neighbouring Koln (Cologne to the Empire), which use the same trams. But funnily enough they have the good sense to put the ticketing boothes on the trams, and they work! That’s German efficiency for you. The bit about the actors playing smelly weirdos who sit uncomforatbly close to you on the tram, that must be true though as I used to live with someone who did that. Didn’t realsie he was getting paid for it though, or even thast he was an actor. Stranger things have happened though!


  23. Aoin Says:

    I can’t believe people think this article is real.


  24. Anonymous Says:

    april fools you dumb arse,s


  25. paul counsel Says:

    Does this now mean Heaton Park will get more machines coz one on each platform really pisses me off


  26. Anonymous Says:

    Bloody brilliant!!!


  27. Emma Says:

    As the top of the article says ‘Voted Manchester’s 3rd best spoof news website in 2002 and 2003’


  28. Jonathan Says:

    This is nothing compared to the social experiment Edinburgh city centre are currently running in a similar vein


  29. Andrew Says:

    That explains the existence of the Pomona station, where nobody gets on and nobody gets off!


  30. Anonymous Says:

    I’m genuinely amazed at how many people have taken this seriously…


  31. Daniel Fleming Says:

    If this is true it is very stupid as I have been late for a lot of important stuff over the past two years because of trams not turning up, what was to gain from it? To see how long people wouldn’t get pissed of before cracking? Absolutely stupid!


    • Anonymous Says:

      You’re absolutely stupid for believing this article is true! Read the top and don’t believe everything you read.


    • angelauk Says:

      Please tell me you do not have a job, because if you can get one how on Earth are there still unemployed people about? Moronic isn’t in it.


  32. Anonymous Says:

    this is total utter bullshit. To prove it they, they quote “professor Stephen Manderson” head of manchester uni research…… He isn’t real…..
    This is the real name of professor green. Never trust this site


  33. That Girl Says:

    Chill out guys, it’s clearly a spoof… jeez, I bet you’re the kind of people who think Office Burger is a real burger place in Manchester too….


  34. Anonymous Says:

    said Professor Stephen Manderson,

    Professor Green? really…


  35. shnylycia Says:

    Reblogged this on "Pull him off at half-time!" and commented:
    Excellent effort.


  36. Anonymous Says:

    I would be more interested in the findings of this “social experiment”. So, it was going on for so many years and nobody noticed it or complained about it. Should we congratulate people for their patience or shall we mourn over lack of social responsibility? Does insinuate that the community today lacks the attitude for expecting and exacting a better world? Are we relying on others to do the right thing while “minding our own business”?

    How do we infer the findings? Given that you always had an option of good bus service, would you ever be pissed off enough about Metrolink’s bad service to take an action and demand explanation?


  37. Joey blower Says:

    This article is a fecking social experiment! People tend to believe whatever they are spoon-fed, despite the the writer swearing and despite the fact that Professor Stephen Manderson is Professor Greens full name! X


  38. Anonymous Says:

    This is well Jackson.


  39. Anonymous Says:

    Totally fucking Mexico


  40. Anonymous Says:

    lol, look at the title of the website you gullible goons.


  41. Anonymous Says:

    “News Manc is a satire news site. All the stuff you read here is made up and designed for entertainment. It’s all fake. Not true. False. Spoofed. News Manc takes no responsiblity for people who take stuff on here to be accurate. Because it isn’t. This site is also aimed at those 18 and over.” Are people seriously this fucking retarded?


  42. Chris Says:

    I knew Metrolink were fucking with us when I saw the cost of a return ticket to Media City.


  43. Jan Brzozowski Says:

    One of my neighbours has a great Dane, so I ride him to work. He is faster than a tram and leaves when I want to and he only costs a couple of cans of dog food a week. I just phone on my mobile when I want him to pick me up and take me back home. Although I haven’t quite solved the problem of bad weather (IE getting drenched if its raining on my journey but then in the early morning I am not squashed like a sardine amongst a melee of other bodies. (And at certain times, squashed I would be on a tram – someone could die standing up on one of those and nobody would notice till the tram emptied) Anyway this great Dane is a really Great Dane —- From Tom Thumb (I work as a fairy tale actor).


  44. Xan Holbrook Says:

    Reblogged this on Xan Holbrook and commented:
    NewsManc: Facts x Imprtance = News


  45. Mr. Wapojif Says:

    OMG this is amazing! I’ve been using the Salford Quays-Piccadilly Gardens return route for a year and a half and it’s unbelievably crap. They did, finally, manage to get the electronic sign working at the Quays, but it’s buying moronic there isn’t one at Piccadilly Gardens. You literally have no idea when an Eccles/MediaCity tram will turn up as there are so many severe delays/breakdowns, but also as they don’t pay any attention to a timetable.

    On the return journey the tram ALWAYS stops next to the Bridge Water theatre, too, for no reason, usually. Even if you know there’s nothing ahead the signal will keep the driver there, usually for around 5 minutes. Crap.


    • angelauk Says:

      WTF is wrong with you?


      • angelauk Says:

        I am, but obviously you aren’t. How can you think this is a serious post? It is satire, don’t you understand what that means? Unbelievable how many idiots there are in this world.

      • Mr. Wapojif Says:

        Your stupidity is remarkable. Chill the hell out, weirdo. It’s a spoof blog on the awfulness of the service. It’s taking a unique approach to voice the shoddiness of the Metrolink service which thousands suffered under every day.

        Clearly you don’t have any idea what the hell’s going on.

  46. Jordan D Says:

    Wow…………dick move TfGM……dick move.


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