Light rail countdown hits home straight
Tram testing is ramping up in the CBD – and will soon begin for the first time in Kingsford and Kensington – as Sydney counts down for the commencement of commuter services in December.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Transport Andrew Constance, NSW Police and the NRMA today reminded road users to be alert around the new light rail corridor as testing steps up.
“As we get ready for services to start in December, Sydneysiders will see more trams every day. Driver training extends into the CBD this week and there will be up to 12 trams out testing day and night, seven days a week,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I’m also pleased to confirm that trams will soon start testing in Kingsford and Kensington.
“It’s an exciting time for Sydney as the countdown begins to the first passenger services from Randwick to Circular Quay, but it’s also a timely reminder for pedestrians and drivers to be vigilant.”
Mr Constance said new safety videos, launched today by Transport for NSW, will remind drivers to be aware around the light rail as part of the “Heads Up, Play It Safe around Light Rail” campaign.
“We have a number of busy intersections along the light rail route, particularly in the CBD, such as George and Bathurst streets. We remind drivers not to queue across these intersections and always follow traffic signals,” Mr Constance said.
Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have mistakenly entered the tram corridor at busy intersections, including those around Pitt Street and Eddy Avenue at Central, and at Devonshire and Bourke streets in Surry Hills.
“We know people are getting used to having trams around, but we really need everyone to be mindful of the tram corridor when turning at intersections, and if you end up on the tracks, drive or ride carefully to the next cross street and exit safety,” Mr Constance said.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy reminded drivers they must stay off the cement tram corridor and stick to the asphalt roads.
“Drivers and operators of heavy vehicles must follow the new traffic signals and always stop on the red. Never turn in front of a tram and do not queue across intersections. Food delivery operators and couriers are also reminded to not ride in the tram corridor,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.
“The message for all road users is the same; ditch the distraction, follow the road rules and pay attention.”
NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said pedestrians also need to change their behaviour.
“The NRMA report released in July, Look Up, found over one third of pedestrians crossed busy intersections while distracted by their smartphones or wearing earphones,” Mr Khoury said.
“Taking this sort of risk around the new Light Rail can have devastating consequences. Trams are quiet and too many pedestrians have yet to adjust their behavior around this new mode of transport in the heart of Sydney – this needs to change now.”