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Operators discuss latest lockdown challenges Tuesday March 30, 2021

The second Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ and recent peak in infections nationwide presented fresh challenges for light rail operators, members of a UKTram working group have heard.

At last week’s ‘virtual’ meeting of the organisation’s Light Rail Operators Committee (LROC), representatives from Nottingham, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Docklands, Croydon, Manchester and the West Midlands reported an increase in staff correctly self-isolating as the vaccination roll out gathered pace.

Jamie Swift, UKTram Marketing and Commercial Manager, explained: “Once again operators have risen to the challenges presented by the pandemic, but it has proved difficult to manage employee availability, even with reduced service frequency.

“Anti-social behaviour was also reported as a growing concern across the country, although it was hoped that this will start to reduce with the reopening of schools and the return of more customers to the networks, especially in the evenings.”

“Members of the group also discussed potential capacity issues when non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality reopen in April, as tram vehicles will still be subject to social distancing measures. Increased frequencies and the use of spare trams are part of their plans to increase capacity.”

The meeting also included reports on a number of significant projects, including trials of Focus+ devices and driver attention systems, along with a general update on the work of the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board.