Melb trams need safety overhaul

Design faults in Melbourne's new high-tech trams are contributing to more passenger falls and slips. (AAP)

Melbourne's newest tram fleet is being overhauled to repair braking and acceleration issues, while drivers are being retrained.

Melbourne's newest tram fleet is being overhauled and drivers retrained to prevent passenger falls in the wake of a report that discovered safety shortcomings.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the new E-class trams - ordered in 2010 at a cost of $300 million - had "sensitive" brakes and accelerated too quickly.

Public Transport Victoria (PTV) commissioned an independent report into the performance of the fleet for the first part of 2015.

The report found as well as braking and accelerating issues, passengers also needed more places to hold on.

"With these new E-class trams ... because they are newer they have had an issue where they brake more suddenly and accelerate more quickly and that is being, if you like, smoothed out as a result of this investigation and report," Ms Allan told 3AW.

She said since the report, the trams were being fixed and the number of passenger falls had halved.

Acting PTV chief executive Jeroen Weimar said while the trams were being fixed, drivers were also being trained on how to drive the new vehicles.

"We have gone through a lot of work with Yarra Trams to ensure drivers are being trained properly and they understand how to manage a vehicle of that particular size," he said on 3AW.

He said last week PTV staff were down at the Dandenong factory where the trams were being built to look at how the interiors of the trams could be improved so passengers had more places to hold on.

Opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett said taxpayers faced another expensive repair bill on public transport.

"Last November Jacinta Allan boasted that the E-Class were the biggest, safest and most accessible trams on the network. Now we discover that yet again the minister is not up to the job," he said.

Source AAP

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