Blackpool trams ‘pile on’ sparks fears over Covid spread in resort

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“It’s the staff I feel for. Under staffed, overworked and put at risk to their health. Respect to them as personally I would have just told them to stick the job.”

Picture taken by Benjamin Harman of crowded tram he left on Sunday May 6 after feeling it was "too much"

Picture taken by Benjamin Harman of crowded tram he left on Sunday May 6 after feeling it was “too much” (Image: Benjamin Harman)

Pictures of crowded Blackpool trams have raised concerns about the spread of Covid in the town amid an influx of visitors.

The recent hot weather has resulted in a deluge of visitors to the resort, many of whom have relied on local transport to travel to and from various attractions.

One woman said she was horrified when her parents, who are classed as vulnerable, sent her a picture of the tram they had boarded in the afternoon.

Posted on Sunday (June 6) the picture shows a packed carriage with commuters in close proximity with some failing to wear masks.

Blackpool resident, Benjamin Harman, also boarded a tram the same day but said he got off to walk the last mile home as he felt it was “too much”.

Picture taken by one commuter's parents who are classed as vulnerable to Covid-19 of a crowded tram in Blackpool

Picture taken by one commuter’s parents who are classed as vulnerable to Covid-19 of a crowded tram in Blackpool

He told LancsLive: “I really felt for the staff and could see them struggling and no-one listening to them.

“I was also told 70 people is the government guideline. Conductors were simply too busy doing tickets and people were just piling on and ignoring the staff.

“Got to the point I actually got off the tram to walk the last mile as it was too much. It’s the staff I feel for.

“Respect to them as personally I would have just told them to stick the job. It was shocking.”

Blackpool Transport has responded to the concerns, saying that the trams have been ‘extremely busy’ due the recent surge in tourists back to the area.

“We are aware that recently our trams have been extremely busy following the unprecedented influx of visitors to the resort.

“Operationally we deployed every available resource to manage the number of customers travelling with us at the time. As per government guidance we have processes and measures in place to help protect our staff and our customers, but we need customers to work with us to keep themselves and others safe.

“We ask customers to only board the tram if they feel safe to do so and it is an impossible task for our teams to remove customers from the tram once they have boarded.

“This is an issue across all modes of public transport including trains, all of which are operating under conditions where demand exceeds capacity at peak times.

“We have provided extra buses and encouraged customers to take the bus during our busiest times and have found that customers will not do this.

“The capacity limit of 70 customers is our preferred limit to maintain a safe travelling environment and wherever possible until at least 21 June 2021 we will be advising customers to keep to this number.

“We have operated with one conductor since January 2021 and have recruited seasonal conductors to boost the on-board number to two conductors from mid-June 2021. This date is a month before the start of English school holidays and will enable staff to check tickets.

“We are implementing a number of additional measures in the coming weeks to continue to play our role in keeping everybody as safe as possible when travelling.

“We are asking customers to help us by using other means of transport at our peak times wherever possible.”