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Fresh challenges as customers return to trams Thursday May 6, 2021

Most UK light rail systems have now returned to a full operational timetable and all have reported increases in patronage following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Senior figures from across the light rail sector have also heard that compliance with remaining Covid-19 precautions – including the wearing of face coverings – remains high, although some light rail operators continue to report problems with anti-social behaviour.

Steve Duckering, Operations Manager at UKTram explained: “Clearly customer numbers remain well below what they would normally be, but we are seeing some signs of recovery and almost all systems are now running their full timetable with others planning increases to services before the next stage of the roadmap later in May.”

Emerging new travel patterns were discussed at the latest online meeting of the UKTram Operations Group, which saw representatives from Blackpool, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Docklands Light Rail, Luas, and Nottingham taking part last week.

The meeting also heard that fewer employees were needing to self-isolate, easing pressures on driver availability, and more staff were returning to on-tram revenue protection duties – helping to deter both fare evasion and anti-social behaviour.

“Once again the Group provided the ideal opportunity for operational managers to share their experiences of the challenges posed by the pandemic and to share best practice that will be vital to long-term recovery,” Steve added.