No room on busy trams

A packed Blackpool tram during Ride the Lights
A packed Blackpool tram during Ride the Lights
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Calls have been made for more trams to run during busy events amid claims many passengers were unable to board trams during Ride the Lights because they were already full.

Despite big crowds heading to the Promenade for the annual Illuminations curtain-raiser on Tuesday, only the usual half-hourly tram service was operated by Blackpool Transport (BTS) after 8pm.

John Garnham, of Cherry Tree Road, Marton, said: “It was great to see the huge numbers of people out for Ride the Lights event but BTS did not provide any extra trams for this event which would clearly generate a lot of non-biking attendance, too.

“The result, a great many people frustrated and angered by overcrowding, some even left behind at stops. Secondly, hundreds of people travelled free as conductors were unable to collect fares.”

Tommy Stewart, of Warbreck Hill Road, North Shore, said: “I was at The Gynn at about 8pm and when the tram pulled in, people were packed on to it like sardines.

“Coming back, it was full by the time we got to the Pleasure Beach and people could not get on.”

Bob Mason, director of delivery at Blackpool Transport, said staffing restraints meant they could not operate a more frequent service.

He added: “We only have the number of staff to operate the scheduled service and we did try and get staff to work voluntary overtime, but most of this was exhausted 
because we operated a heritage service Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday and this used up most of the available hours.”

However, he said there would be an enhanced service during the Illuminations with increased frequency between Starr Gate and Little Bispham as well as illuminated and heritage tours from the Pleasure Beach loop, the same service as last year which he said had been a success.