Keolis Downer has released video footage showing the top-five safety issues on the Newcastle light rail line in an effort to build better awareness ahead of the line’s launch next month.
The timely safety push comes after multiple trams began simultaneously running on the light rail line for the first time earlier this week.
Light rail staff, which have been guiding trams through the city since October, have seen a range of reckless behaviours on the 2.7km line.
The issues include motorists running red lights at light rail crossings, vehicles queuing over tracks at crossings, pedestrians jaywalking, using the tramway for walking, running, cycling, and vehicles performing illegal U-turns over light rail tracks.
With the line only weeks away from opening, Keolis Downer is appealing to city drivers and pedestrians to be safer around the new system.
Keolis Downer Hunter general manager Mark Dunlop said following the road rules and being aware around the light rail line would not just keep people safe, but help the system operate to its potential.
“It’s an exciting time with Newcastle light rail just weeks away from opening, and none of us want to see an accident or service interruptions because some people are not following the rules,” he said.
“Using the tramway as a running track, or queuing over the tram tracks, are behaviours that are not only dangerous, but will affect how Newcastle light rail operates once we open.
“We’ve now been daytime testing for about a month, and we’re asking the community to not let some of the recent issues we’ve seen turn into long term habits that will put people at risk and be a detriment to the service.”
Newcastle Transport light rail driver Corey Moore said drivers had encountered some careless and reckless behaviour since daytime testing started in November.
“It makes sense that people need some time to adjust to the new conditions, however our drivers are seeing some repeated dangerous behaviours which are putting people at risk,” he said.
“One of the most common issues we’ve seen is drivers running red lights at light rail crossings, particularly at Stewart Avenue.
“Another regular sight is pedestrians jaywalking across the tram tracks, often not paying attention and looking at their phones.
“We’re now running multiple vehicles for driver training and system testing, which means it’s especially important to address some of the dangerous behaviours we’re seeing.”
While no date has been set, Transport Minister Andrew Constance has said Newcastle light rail will begin passenger trips in February.