THE leader of Oldham Council’s Liberal Democrat opposition group calling for the introduction of conductors on the Oldham to Rochdale tram line.

Cllr Howard Sykes reckons the move would make Metrolink travel safer for passengers, but would also help reduce fare evasion.

He will propose the motion to the next full council meeting (Wednesday, November 7).

The line is the worst for violent and criminal incidents of any route in the Metrolink network and at least one-in-eight passengers is estimated to fail to pay for a ticket.

Cllr Sykes said he was “bitterly disappointed” council leader Sean Fielding did not back back his call at the September council meeting and is hoping that the motion will give Labour the chance to reconsider its position.

He continued: “Safety and fare evasion on the tram are issues that both concern and annoy a great many of my constituents and those of my colleagues in Crompton.

“Shaw and Crompton is the busiest stop on the Rochdale to Oldham line and many people, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, are now fearful of travelling on the tram, even though this is the most frequent, reliable and convenient form of public transport into Oldham, Rochdale or Manchester.

“Passengers have the right to expect to be able to wait or travel safely on the tram, without being subjected to criminal or loutish behaviour.

“In addition, law-abiding passengers who pay for a ticket expect to see regular ticket inspections take place to ensure that others who should do so, do so.”

He added: “Following several recent violent incidents on the line, an operation was mounted involving Metrolink staff, Police Officers and our council’s youth engagement officers in tackling this blight, and 13 offenders have been arrested during the first two weeks of this operation. Unfortunately, although that operation was called Infinity, its duration and the resources devoted to it are not.”