“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve public transport, and we particularly know that the frequency of service has a big impact on customer satisfaction,” she said.
“If you don’t have to wait that long at the platform, you’re more likely to use public transport.”
Traffic on the Inner-West line was halted for months after cracks in the existing tram fleet were discovered in late 2021. The government has yet to resolve a long-running contract dispute with Spanish manufacturer CAF over the cracks in the trams, which have since been repaired and put back into service.
Mathew Hounsell, a researcher at the University of Technology Transportation Research Center, said the significant disruption to traffic caused by the broken streetcars dampened demand immediately afterwards.
However, he said visitor numbers had increased significantly in recent months and the Inner West Light Rail was “still very popular” with people over the weekend.
“Over 20,000 people are moved every day of the week,” he said. “The main driver of demand for the Inner West Light Rail is good frequency. If you know your wait time will be shorter, you will catch it. The additional vehicles will allow the operator to offer more reliable services and that will attract passengers.”
Last December, weekday peak traffic on the route was increased to eight-minute intervals.
Lewisham resident Mary Osborn, who uses the light rail regularly, said she has seen a significant increase in the number of people taking trams since the peak of the pandemic two years ago. “It’s so much nicer than the trains — it’s just more airy,” she said.
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