Venue: Ground Floor Committee Room - Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG. View directions
Contact: Zena West Email: email@example.com
Apologies for Absence
Councillor Creamer (Councillor Woodhead attending)
Councillor C Jenkins - work commitments
Councillor Longford - other council business
Councillor Piper - other council business
Councillor Rostance (Councillor Kerry attending)
Declarations of Interest
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2017.
It was noted that the discussion minuted as items 7j to 7n should have been minuted under item 8 - safety. Subject to this change being made, the minutes were agreed to be a correct record of the meeting.
The minutes from 13 December 2016 resolved that an item on the NET Partnership Board would come to future meetings. However, there has not been a meeting of the NET Partnership board since the last meeting to include a report. On future agendas, it will be noted if there is no report due to no meeting having taken place.
There has been no meeting between the tram operator and the representative of the Nottinghamshire Federation of Small Businesses regarding safety announcements on the tram yet.
With regards to the inquest into a fatality at David Lane on 15 August 20016 - a narrative verdict was recorded, which was inconclusive. A list of safety recommendations was made for NET. The Office of Road and Rail will visit Nottingham Trams at the end of September, where it will be demonstrated that the recommendations have been implemented. A report on the conclusions of this inspection will come to the December meeting.
Report of the Head of Operations, Nottingham Trams
Mike Mabey, Nottingham Trams Limited, presented the NET Operational Update and presented a safety update. The following points were highlighted:
(a) reliability and punctuality remained high at 93.6% and 94% respectively;
(b) the derailment at Old Market Square that occurred in July was due to debris in the points causing the points to foul. The rear wheels went on to the northbound track instead of the southbound track. A new procedure is in place to ensure that this won't happen again;
(c) the de-wirement that occurred on 18 July 2017 was caused by the pantograph on tram 213 failing between Forest and Noel Street tram stops. The damage to the overhead line took 4 days to rectify. Replacement bus services were in operation between Bulwell and Forest tram stops. The bus service was very poor on the first day. 17 different bus companies were contacted, but they were unable to provide drivers for a replacement service quickly enough. NCT buses provided additional buses over the next 3 days. A significant disruption like this had not been experienced before and it was quite a big incident to manage. Lessons have been learned and an action plan is now in place should anything similar happen again;
(d) following the Manchester and London terrorist attacks, the threat level was increased, with specific procedures in place at NET when the level changes. These include Travel Officers being more visible, hourly checks at the station in conjunction with East Midlands Trains, increased CCTV vigilance, and a locked down depot where all visitors had to be met at the gates;
(e) the footbridge connecting the Queen’s Medical Centre tram stop and the main hospital has been completed and opened, and it looks very impressive. It includes rest areas. A study will be completed shortly to see if it increases use of the tram stop;
(f) the Department For Transport has announced in their patronage report that patronage increased significantly throughout the industry in the 12 month period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. 16.4 million journeys were made on NET during this period, equating to a 34% increase compared to the previous year. ;
(g) The results of a customer survey that was undertaken in autumn 2016 by independent body Transport Focus were published in June. Looking at all UK tramways to gauge customer satisfaction, overall satisfaction achieved on NET was 97%. Key factors for high satisfaction include punctuality and frequency of the service, with 96% and 95% respectively achieved, higher than all other operators;
(h) in November 2016 a tram overturned in Croydon. A meeting has taken place between the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and all UK tram operators, going through recommendations following the investigation into this incident. NET have now responded to those initial recommendations. UK Tram have set up a sub committee to review the issues and see what is available to cover the recommendations. A full RAIB report should be available by end of October.
There followed some discussion by the Committee:
(h) with reference to the derailment on 25 May 2017, the emergency points in Old Market Square were being used because of a failed tram at the High School stop, so a tram had to turn back at Old Market Square. These emergency points are infrequently used, they are only required when a disruption or engineering works take place. Their position on hill meant that debris had washed down in the rain. A more robust inspection and cleaning programme is being implemented, especially after heavy rainfall. The points allow valuable flexibility of the service and will continue to be used when required in time of disruption, but their use is not routine;
(i) the drivers are trained to operate the emergency points and to visually inspect them. All other hand-operated points were temporarily put out of commission unless a member of staff was available on the ground, until the cause of the issue was identified. Now that the cause has been established the procedure has reverted to the driver carrying out the inspection.;
(j) it is believed that the patronage report figures are slightly lower than initially forecast;
(k) the representative of the Nottinghamshire Federation of Small Businesses informed the Committee that some tram customers with disabilities have reported being very impressed with the service in terms of accessibility, but they have suggestions for other areas of improvement, including changing the speed that the doors close in order that disabled travellers and their companions do not become separated (this has also been an issue for those travelling with young children), clearer announcements that the doors are now closing, and better announcements regarding disruptions to the service. Mr Mabey responded by stating that a new procedure has been implemented when passengers are separated, now the tram is stopped as soon as is reasonably practical so that passengers can be reunited, rather than proceeding to the next stop. When the doors are about to close, there are audio and visual warnings in the form of loud beeping and flashing lights. The doors also have motion sensors so they will not close on anyone in the doorway at the time. The website is immediately updated as soon as a disruption occurs, as well as the displays on the platforms. Ideas to improve the website are currently being investigated.
(l) there is no alarm in place to warn tram drivers of a pantograph failure. The potential for this will be investigated by Nottingham Trams. The disruption and subsequent repair were quite costly;
(m) at the Queen’s Medical Centre, public access has also been opened to the Treatment Centre, and this is being well used ;
(n) The Croydon incident was the first accident of this nature in 40 years, and whilst it was a severe incident which everyone would wish to see avoided, it was exceedingly rare;
(o) some measures that have been introduced on NET since the Croydon incident include increased cab ride checks, covert monitoring of drivers, speed checks of data from black box monitors for 10% of journeys (with not a single incident of speeding detected), and refresher training on speed adherence. Every human risk factor that can be mitigated has been. Whilst the use of artificial intelligence systems to override the drivers’ actions may be considered one day, there are too many legal and responsibility implications at the moment.
RESOLVED to note the report, and thank Mike Mabey for the update.
Report of the NET Project Office, Nottingham City Council
Andrew Holdstock, NET Project Officer, Nottingham City Council, presented a report on a letter of complaint addressed to the Committee:
(a) one letter of complaint had been addressed to the Committee since the last meeting. The customer has also written to the tram operator about the issue. They were travelling with a disabled companion from Hucknall during the disruption on 21 July 2017 and did not see the signs or hear the public address system at the tram stop, and the public address system on the tram was poor. At Bulwell they felt it was too far to go to the bus station to catch the replacement bus, so returned to Hucknall. They have asked for a refund which has already been provided, along with an apology;
(b) there was no staff member present at Hucknall, as there were not enough staff at short notice to cover all necessary stops. There were staff at Hucknall during peak times;
(c) whilst the customer has stated that they felt the service was inadequate, this has not been confirmed in the reply, as not much more could have been done with so few staff available at short notice. More frequent stop announcements may well have disturbed local residents.
RESOLVED to acknowledge the letter of complaint, and to acknowledge that a response offering the refund and apology requested has already been sent to the customer by the tram operator.