National

‘Use your brain’ around trams: Constance

By AAP Newswire

Sydneysiders should "use their brain" when the city's light rail opens for public use this weekend and improve their etiquette around mobile phone use, according to the NSW transport minister.

The $2.9 billion project will carry passengers for the first time on Saturday, with trams to be free for use on the opening weekend.

A coupled tram holds up to 450 passengers, the equivalent of nine buses.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance on Wednesday said some 200,000 kilometres of tram testing had already taken place, while the trams' 100 drivers had each undertaken 190 hours of training.

While he said city-goers were slowly improving their behaviour around trams, a minority of people were failing to get the message.

He reminded Sydneysiders that the trams, once in motion, require about 15 metres of space to come to a complete stop.

"The etiquette around mobile phone use continues to be a problem not only in relation to light rail but crossing the street, walking around congested areas in the city, people walking into each other," Mr Constance told reporters.

"Use your brain. There's danger associated with light rail.

"People are completely like zombies as a result of earpieces, listening to music, texting ... we need people to just really smarten up here."

Services will run in both directions every six minutes for the opening weekend, with Mr Constance expecting a bedding-in period of at least three months before trams run every two minutes as promised.

The trams will begin accepting passengers from 11am on Saturday and regular services on the line will run from 5am to 1am each day.

"People need to be patient in that regard but ultimately, if you think about the benefits of light rail, it's taking buses off what was a congested George Street and freeing up the city to be moving," Mr Constance said.

The announcement follows revelations the final construction cost of the project has blown out to $2.9 billion - $1.3 billion more than originally forecast.