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Union rejects claims drivers behind light rail performance

The union representing public transport workers has strongly rejected the NSW Government’s claim that tram drivers have contributed to delays across Sydney’s new light rail.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW said the Government is shifting pressure under intense criticism of the light rail’s slow network speed when the problem lies in fundamental design flaws.

“From day one, our tram drivers have struggled under immense pressure during testing and opening to get this light rail running,” said Daniel Jaggers, Divisional President of the Tram and Bus Division.

“No team of drivers could meet the on-time running targets of this network, which were wildly optimistic as the Government marketed its new project. The network speed, among the lowest in the world, is squarely due to design flaws that were not accounted for during the planning stage.

“The idea that putting more trams on a badly designed network will somehow decrease journey times is absurd. The union calls on the Government to address these flaws, including installing chicanes at pedestrian crossings and fencing along key areas, before introducing any new trams. This is crucial to ahead of the opening of the Kingsford line in March, which will place the network under even more pressure.

“The public endured 5 years of disruptive construction, the longest light rail construction in the world. Throughout all the mistakes, delays and blunders, they were promised a fast and convenient service.

“At this point, the Government must come clean and admit to the public that the light rail will not meet their hopes for a 38-40 minute journey time, but will inevitably operate with a more realistic journey time of 45-50 minutes.

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s not going to change until significant changes are made to the network.”