Passengers on Nottingham’s tram network have not been having their tickets checked, it has emerged.
Due to COVID-19 limitations and not wanting to place staff in confrontational situations, some ticket staff are now being used as information officers on platforms instead.
The company which runs the tram network has not revealed exactly when tickets stopped being checked, nor when ticket checking will be resumed, however it is expected ticket checks will resume ‘in the coming weeks’.
The ticket checks are known by the tram operators as ‘revenue protection’, as they aim to protect money coming into the company.
In a public meeting yesterday (Tuesday, September 15) Trevor Stocker, of NET, said: “At the moment we’re not carrying out any revenue protection duties.
“This is, as you would expect, for the protection of staff to not bring them into any conflict situations that could arise from people not having their tickets.
“Those staff have returned to trams and tram stops, however, to be more of a customer advisory role, to be seen out and about on the network, to deter antisocial behaviour, and to advise customers that are out and about.
“Looking forward, we do have plans to make a soft return to revenue protection in the coming weeks, where we’ll be following very much in line with the approach from the police to encourage and educate, before finally getting back to enforcement, and that will give us a number of stages where we can say we’ll be checking tickets on trams, then on tram stops.
“We’re also working very closely with community policing and Nottinghamshire Police on how we can work together on those types of operations in the near future.”
A spokesman for NET said: “In line with government guidance, and similar action taken by other public transport operators, we took the sensible precaution of limiting close contact between customers and our employees as much as possible to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“Alongside a range of other measures introduced during lockdown, this approach enabled us to maintain services for essential workers through the pandemic and, clearly, we carried a fraction of the usual number of customers as the vast majority of people followed the government advice to avoid using public transport.
“During this period, members of the NET team responsible for checking tickets were widely engaged in other activities to help keep the network safe and, although customer numbers remain well below normal levels, regular revenue protection activities are resuming as trams get busier.
“We would also like to remind customers that the easiest and most Covid-safe way to pay for their travel is by using the NETGO! app and that following government rules on wearing a face covering, and guidance on social distancing whenever possible, is as important as ever. Anyone unsure of the latest rules or advice should visit our dedicated Covid-19 page on the NET website.”