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Media Release


Tram Attendants: Time to Revisit

The Public Transport Users Association has welcomed the "review" of the 100 publicly funded tram attendants announced by Transport Minister Peter Batchelor following the return of daily tickets to Melbourne trams.

PTUA Secretary Vaughan Williams said that the government had wasted the resources and broken their promise to return 100 tram conductors to the system by allowing the private tram operators to use the extra staff as taxpayer-funded ticket inspectors.

"Currently, the taxpayer-funded staff are standing around doing very little, or going around in large groups inspecting tickets. These staff aren't genuine conductors - conductors travel alone and are allocated to a particular tram. They sell a range of tickets at normal prices - accepting notes as well as coins."

"The Government should deliver on its promise of 100 tram conductors. Now is the time to revisit the deployment of those 100 staff and get them doing something useful."

Mr Williams said that passengers overwhelmingly supported the presence of genuine conductors on trams.

"Given the limited number of staff available, we believe they should be deployed on selected routes. These routes should be selected on a rational set of criteria - perhaps the busier routes, or those with security issues - and the routes selected should be publicised so that passengers know which routes have conductors. 100 conductors should be enough for three or four routes."

Mr Williams added that the 100 station staff the Government promised to fund should also be redeployed to serve their intended purpose.

"The 100 taxpayer-funded railway staff are being used as security guards. These staff would be enough for another two dozen Premium Stations and should be used for this."

"The operators are losing as much as $50 million a year on fare evasion and their current aggressive enforcement approach is getting them nowhere. A genuine conductor would be a passenger-friendly way to make fare evasion difficult and buying tickets easy - which is the key to getting people to pay their fares," concluded Mr Williams

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 07 August 2002