South London tram service ‘utterly abysmal’ claims Lib Dem

A Liberal Democrat has raised concerns with City Hall regarding the state of South London’s tram service following a year of closures, strikes and shortages.

Lib Dem Assembly Member, Hina Bokhari, wrote a letter to Transport for London (TfL) Chief, Andy Lord, alongside several councillors in Merton, Croydon and Bromley outlining their concerns with the service over the last year.

According to Ms Bokhari, a combination of strikes, engineering works and tram shortages has resulted in a “crisis” service that is “failing passengers”.

She said: “London Trams provide a vital transport link for communities in Wimbledon, Mitcham, Croydon, and Beckenham who rely on the network for work, school and leisure.

“The recent level of services provided by London Trams has been utterly abysmal and the impact of the disruption has been felt in our schools and businesses as classes are missed and meetings cancelled.”

In the letter, Ms Bokhari told Mr Lord that directors and senior officers responsible for running the trams should “not receive performance-related bonuses this year”.

It was reported earlier this month that about a dozen trams were taken out of service after “debris on the track” damaged the vehicles’ wheels.

TfL said the incident was not the result of vandalism. 

The letter from Lib Dem Assembly Member, Hina Bokhari, to TfL Chief, Andy Lord (Picture: Liberal Democrats)

Repairs to the damaged trams were delayed due to a strike by engineers, who were said by the Unite union to be “angry” that their counterparts on the Tube are paid £10,000 more a year despite having the same level of training.

A further strike is planned from July 11 to July 15.

Trish Ashton, TfL’s director of rail and sponsored services said: “We have started the procurement process to replace the existing tram fleet, but the replacement is subject to securing suitable capital funding. 

“We continue to work with Government to secure funding for this and for a number of other important projects.” 

The letter from the Lib Dems calls on TfL to introduce more replacement bus services, improve communication with residents and release a comprehensive plan to improve service levels across the network.

Ms Ashton said: “We apologise to customers in South London affected by the issues that we have experienced with the London Trams network. 

“We have worked hard to restore a good service on the London Trams network as quickly as possible and are now serving all destinations.”

Pictured top: London Trams Roundel outside a stop in Mitcham (Picture: TfL)

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