Passengers gave the new tram 7.6 out of 10 for comfort, 7 for convenience, 6.5 for frequency and 6.4 for speed in a recent Delano poll
Photo: Matic Zorman
A month before Luxtram opens its extension to Place de l’Etoile, technical director Frédéric Belony answers readers’ burning questions.
The tram, with its bright colours, usb charging ports and smooth service appears to have worked its charm on the majority of passengers. A recent Delano poll conducted with 52 people (of which 51 had travelled on the tram) scored it 7.6 out of 10 for comfort, 7 for convenience, 6.5 for frequency and 6.4 for speed.
But, as some readers pointed out, there is always room for improvement. Among the recurring grumbles was the frequency (between every 6 and 15 minutes, depending on the day and time) and a possible night service. “Once the tram is running from Findel to Cloche d’Or, the service will operate every three minutes,” Belony told Delano in an interview on 21 June.
Regarding timetable extensions, the technical director pointed out that there needed to be a break in the service for maintenance, cleaning and inspections. “Today the trams start at 5am and finished at 12:30am,” he said, adding that on the occasions when they had extended the timetable, for instance on New Year’s Eve, there were few passengers between midnight and 5am. During Luxembourg’s annual summer funfair, the Schueberfouer (23 August to 11 September), however, the tram service will be extended, until 1:30am on weekdays and 2:30am at weekends. “We adapt according to the situation,” Belony said.
Photo: Matic Zorman. Luxtram has encountered some technical incidents since the tram became operational in December 2017
The tram service has been serving 8 stations the length of Avenue JF Kennedy in Kirchberg since December 2017 with a few technically-related interruptions, the most recent on 20 June when one tram broke down. Temporary alternatives were found with a tram running on a single line between Universitéit and Rout Bréck-Pafendall. “We’ve been going for seven months now. We had a few mechanical problems, a few electrical problems, a few problems linked to the energy supply,” Belony said, adding that the issues were diverse. “It’s normal that there are small problems. It wouldn’t be normal if the same problems occurred regularly,” he said. When asked, he did not provide information on the number of incidents incurred since the line opened.
Starting 27 July, tram passengers will be able to stop at three additional stations in Limpertsberg: Theater, Faïencerie and Stäreplaz/Etoile. What is more, passengers will be able to use the entire network free of charge until 16 September. By 2019-2020, the network should extend to Lycée Bonnevoie, and the full, 16-kilometre network from Findel to Cloche d’Or is expected to be operational in 2021.
The completion of these phases will likely ease some of the issues raised by readers, regarding speed and access. Because the network is relatively short, many passengers have to use a bus or train as well as the tram. One reader raised the issue of a lack of direct connecting transport options to Cents, Clausen and the Grund. Another asked for a real-time information system incorporating tram and bus, depending on transport conditions. The same person urged for a bus shelter at the Roud Bréck bus station, an issue which is beyond Luxtram’s remit.