Doubling up to ease tram woes

Standing room only on a prom tram.

Standing room only on a prom tram.

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TRANSPORTS chiefs are to turn to Blackpool’s old fleet of trams to cope with demand for the service.

Converted double decker ‘balloon’ trams are to be used over half term next week amid complaints passengers are unable to board the new Flexity trams because they are so full.

Some hoteliers claim guests say they will not return to Blackpool because they cannot use the seafront service.

Tricia Phillips, of The Windsor Carlton Hotel on Warley Road, said: “During the season we have had a constant stream of complaints from guests about the Blackpool trams.

“The most common complaints are there is no sign of a tram and trams are driving straight past the stop because they are full. The timetable is a waste of time as more often than not they come at different times.

“Not a single week has gone by when our guests have not felt strongly enough to voice their opinion, and some have said it has put them off coming back.”

But Bob Mason, director of delivery at Blackpool Transport, said: “We already have plans in place for next season which will assist with capacity and the lessons we have learned to date will be implemented.

“The modified balloon trams are available and we have utilised them as and when required to supplement the normal service but this in itself has operational issues as they can slow down the main service due to fact they only have one set of doors and boarding and alighting is slower.

“We intend to operate these as a trial for the half term week and this will provide a combined six minute service between the Pleasure Beach and Little Bispham, which is the busiest section of route. The new service has been very successful, and passenger numbers are above expectations. We are evolving the timetable to improve the service.”

Of the 16-strong Flexity fleet, introduced in April, 12 trams are required to operate the service. One is used for training, one for routine maintenance, while currently two are out of use - one awaiting parts and another is in Germany for modifications.

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