News State Victoria News Calls for overhaul as report slams tram safety

Calls for overhaul as report slams tram safety

E-Class tram Melbourne
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Design faults in Melbourne’s new high-tech trams are contributing to a high rate passenger falls, slips and trips.

A review of the trams, commissioned by Public Transport Victoria (PTV), found potential problems with acceleration, braking, hanging straps, floor slopes and seat design, News Ltd reported.

The private report, probed by Freedom of Information laws, found the E-Class trams were the worst offenders when it came to passenger falls. As a result, Melbourne tram drivers are being retrained to handle the state-of-the-art vehicles.

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Speaking on 3AW on Tuesday morning, Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allen admitted there were problems and said braking issues were being “smoothed out” by engineers, but that passengers should always hang on to hanging straps or poles to avoid accidents.

PTV acting chief executive Jeroen Weimar praised the work of tram drivers and said accidents were often caused by rogue cars or pedestrians cutting in front of trams at short notice.

“We have gone through a lot of work with Yarra Trams to ensure drivers are being trained properly and they understand how to manage a vehicle of that particular size,” Mr Weimar told 3AW radio.

The report revealed riding on the trams, reviewers found risks arose when the vehicles accelerated or braked at a certain rate.

“There is a level of acceleration which can generally be withstood by a human and a level at which this becomes too great and balance cannot be maintained,” the report claimed.

However, the review found rates of accidents and complaints had more than halved after the first year the trams were introduced, suggesting passengers had begun to acclimatise.

Melbourne’s first 50 E-Class trams were ordered in 2010 at a cost of $300 million, with the second order of 20 trams placed last year.

Ms Allen emphasised the trams were not only Melbourne made, but the biggest and safest on the market.

– with AAP

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