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Safety first as light rail nears


From running red lights to jaywalking across tram tracks: drivers and pedestrians have been urged to use more caution around the Newcastle Light Rail.

With the new system set to open to the public next month, Newcastle Transport Light Rail driver Corey Moore said he and other drivers had encountered some careless and reckless behaviour since daytime testing started in November.

“It makes sense that people need some time to adjust to the new conditions, however, our drivers are seeing some repeated dangerous behaviours which are putting people at risk,” he said.
“One of the most common issues we’ve seen is drivers running red lights at the light rail crossings, particularly at Stewart Avenue.
“Another regular sight is pedestrians jaywalking across the tram tracks, often not paying attention and looking at their phones.”

Newcastle Transport operators, Keolis Downer, released a list of the top five safety issues last week ahead of the system’s official opening.

The list included running red lights at rail crossings, vehicles queuing over tracks at crossings, pedestrians jaywalking, using the tramway for walking, running and cycling, and vehicles performing illegal U-turns over light rail tracks.

Keolis Downer Hunter general manager Mark Dunlop said following the road rules and being aware around Newcastle Light Rail would not just keep people safe, but help the system operate to its potential.

“We’re asking the community to not let some of the recent issues we’ve seen turn into long-term habits that will put people at risk and be a detriment to the service,” he said.

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