Councillor calls for introduction of conductors to make trams safer

ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour and fare dodging on the troubled Oldham to Rochdale Metrolink line could be reduced by the introduction of conductors.

That’s the belief of Shaw councillor and Oldham Council Leader of the Opposition, Howard Sykes.

Cllr Sykes wants Transport for Greater Manchester to trial his suggestion on the line, which includes stops in Shaw and Crompton, Newhey and Milnrow.

Anti-social behaviour has plagued the metrolink lines across the borough

However, his proposal to Oldham Council’s September meeting met with lukewarm response from leader Cllr Sean Fielding.

Cllr Sykes acknowledged the success of the recent Operation Initiative on the troublesome route.

In a two-week period 13 people were arrested for public order incidents, theft, fraud, possession of cannabis, breach of parole and wanted on warrant.

More than 150 young people were also spoken to ensure they were safe.

Officers and staff from the TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) were deployed across the line to deter and disrupt criminality.

The operation was supported by the Mounted Unit and Youth Engagement Officers from Oldham Council.

“Regrettably we have seen many disturbing instances of crime and anti-social behaviour on the Rochdale-Oldham line, several very violent over recent months and unfortunately the line has the highest number of incidents across the network,” said Cllr Sykes, addressing Oldham Council’s September meeting.

“I welcome the recent actions of Metrolink staff, police and our Council’s Youth Engagement Officers in tackling this blight.

“The operation may be called Infinity but the resources are not and it will at some point come to an end.

“Some time ago Oldham Liberal Democrats revealed shocking figures that one in eight Metrolink passengers are fare-dodgers. Or to put it another way 12 percent of all journeys are not paid for.

“There are 40 million tram journeys a year so fare-dodging is estimated to cost Metrolink about £9 million in lost revenue.

“Conductors on trams would help tackle this issue and should pay for its self, whilst making the honest traveling public feel safe.

“It would also drive the fair dodgers and those causing anti-social behaviour off the trams.

“Other tram services in the UK have on-board staff on every service, such as the Sheffield Super Tram and on the Wolverhampton – Birmingham line.

“Not only does a conductor provide passengers with reassurance that there is always someone at hand should they need assistance in an emergency.

“But that person can also give passengers advice about services, stops and fares and help them to board and alight.

“I would like to ask the Leader if he would be willing to join me in calling upon Metrolink operators to introduce conductors on a trial basis on the Rochdale – Oldham line?

“We can improve safety, tackle fare evasion and increase revenue for Metrolink – a triple win – and I do not know why we are not doing it already.”

Conductors could also help avoid a repeat of the incident that saw a man dragged along a platform at Bury Metro station with his hand trapped in a door after a safety system failed.

However, Cllr Fielding said: “The security regime (Infinity) has paid dividends with the number of arrests that have been made.

“As a result of the lobbying we have improved security and we have taken action both against fare evaders and against antisocial behaviour.

“It is easy to suggest that conductors would pay for themselves, but if that were the case then we would already have conductors on trams.”

0 Replies to “Councillor calls for introduction of conductors to make trams safer”

  1. Cllr Fielding should consider how much money the metrolink is losing because there are no conductors. I for one avoid travelling on the metrolink. Having witnessed, on many occasions, unsociable behaviour AND violence, I just don’t feel safe on them any more.
    Passengers safety should be of the upmost importance. Once that is in hand, the metrolink may well see an upturn in profits.

  2. C’mon Metro-link obviously Conductors will more than pay for themselves with £9m being lost in unpaid fares, you don’t have to be a mathematician to work that out! Secondly give your fare paying passengers a safe trouble free journey they have the right to expect and again increase the use of a good transport system by good people who have stopped using the trams because of these morons, Enforcement with Conductors will drive these individuals away from OUR TRAM SERVICE it’s ours C’mon Metro-Link get hiring now , and show your long suffering passengers on the Oldham – Rochdale
    Line how important we passengers are to you.

  3. Councillor Fielding needs to listen a little more to all councillors whatever their political allegiance.
    I am very concerned that once the current initiative ends the trouble on the trams will start again. I have recently done a course in Manchester and travelling home in the late evening has not been pleasant. Too many young people behaving very anti socially, bullying others, damaging seats, threatening comments, foul language, winding others up . I followed a young girl from Derker in my car one evening as I was concerned about her safety following vile comments from other passengers. As they ran towards her I was able to warn her and got her in my car and took her home. It is feral at times on the trams. The number of people not paying fares would pay for the conductors.

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