Letter: Tramlines without trams must not be allowed to happen again
This letter was written by Coun Christine Gilligan Kubo, Hillsborough ward, Green Party
Tramlines brought joy in a time of Covid-19 to tens of thousands of people. But Stagecoach Supertram and Tramlines really need to reflect on the decision made 24 hours before the festival started.
Due to staff shortages from Covid-19 self-isolation, Stagecoach told Tramlines they couldn't provide all the extra 15 post-event trams planned. Tramlines did not want to manage the extra safety issues at tram stops with not enough trams. In these circumstances they made a collective decision to pull all tram services from around 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 8pm on Sunday between Shalesmoor and Middlewood/Malin Bridge.
Tramlines is an inner city festival with public transport provision minimising car use to reduce the many impacts on local roads and residents and keep the event safe. 28% arrived and 20% went home by tram in 2019. A short notice decision to leave thousands without planned transport and residents with no tram is irresponsible. It will have forced many more people into cars and created new unplanned safety issues.
It wouldn't be down to a private commercial decision if public transport was back under public control and everyone had a vested interest in running successful, safe major events. Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis’ term will end without using bus franchising powers. Whoever is elected next May must make this happen. Tramlines without trams must not be allowed to happen again.