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Seven police officers to patrol Nottingham tram network on targeted weekend operations

A police team made up of a sergeant and six police constables will ‘exclusively’ patrol the network.

Nottingham’s tram network will have new payment machines installed at every stop by this January to encourage more people to use the service.

Tougher measures are also being introduced to stop fare dodgers, with fines now rising from £50 to £70 as well as more ticket checks at key stops.

A police team made up of a sergeant and six police constables will also ‘exclusively’ patrol the network one weekend night per month until March 2021 to provide visibility.

Trevor Stocker, Head of Operations at Nottingham Trams (NET), has provided a performance and progress update for Nottingham City Council.

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Councillors will note the report at a meeting on Tuesday, 14 December.

He said customer levels remain “significantly below the pre-pandemic levels” with figures for the end of October averaging 60 per cent.

However, customer numbers are starting to grow as people returned to school, university, social activities, and the workplace.

Covid cases within the business have continued to fluctuate during the period of August to October, he said, with cases rising again in October, after several weeks without any reported positive cases.

This continued level of cases has put “pressure on employee availability” across the business, with some services being affected when colleagues have self-isolated.

A variety of issues, including road traffic collisions, emergency services incidents, and bridge incursions, have all had a negative effect on tram service performance, the report states.

On Wednesday, 11 August 11 and Thursday,12  August, a section of the overhead line was reported as damaged and there was a loss of power affecting the line in Basford.

Inspections showed that both lines had been damaged, with a tram stuck under a bridge at Basford.

Trams in the affected section of line were stranded without power. Technicians began the process of removing the tram.

Repairs to the overhead line equipment took several hours, causing “significant disruption”.

On, August 31, a car collided with the Cinderhill road bridge, damaging the bridge wall and sending debris onto a tram.

The tram was substantially damaged with several windows and doors broken and bodyside and roof panels dented. There were no injuries on-board the tram or with the driver of the car.

This closed the branch line for several hours.

During September, the fuel shortages experienced in the UK also caused delays on the tram network, with a number of petrol stations adjacent to the tramway experiencing long queues that blocked tracks.

But Mr Stocker said a number of measures are being introduced to ensure more people use the tram network.

He said: “All ticket vending machines are currently being upgraded across the tram network. The new machines feature a larger, easier to read information screen, contactless payments and the ability to purchase adult Robin Hood PAYG cards from selected locations.

“The first test machine was installed at Wilkinson Street on September 20, for a trial period.

“From October 19, machines are being rolled out, with the target for full completion at the end of January 2022.

“Nottingham contactless was launched on the tram network on September 27. For the first time, contactless payment was available from validators across the network, meaning that anyone wishing to purchase an adult single or day ticket, could do so by tapping their debit/credit card or mobile device with apple or Google pay at the start of their journey.

“Over a 1,000 trips a day are currently being recorded using this new functionality.

“This is currently available as single operator on Nottingham Trams and Nottingham City Transport buses, however development is underway to include CT4N services, and to enable multi-operator day capping, allowing customers for the first time to pay using contactless cards across the different services.”

He said anti-social behaviour levels across the network are dropping, but the network continues to work with the police as well as local schools.

Between August and October, almost 900 community protection patrols were carried out on board trams.

A police team made up of a sergeant and six police constables will also exclusively patrol the network one weekend night per month until March 2021 to provide visibility and crime detection.

This is supported by a successful bid for Home Office funding with the aim to specifically tackle violence in the city area and make the night-time economy safer for women and girls.

He added: “The weeks leading up to Christmas are, historically, the busiest on the tram network, and, in previous years, big city centre events have assisted in contributing to increases in patronage levels.

“Whilst customers are gradually returning to the tram network, a reduced Winter Wonderland this year, and with no plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Square, it can be expected that there will be some impact on patronage levels.”

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