City hires tram troubleshooters ‘to have fun’

Ticketing services assistants will be the modern-day equivalent of the classic 'clippies' when the trams roll. Picture: Neil Hanna

Ticketing services assistants will be the modern-day equivalent of the classic 'clippies' when the trams roll. Picture: Neil Hanna

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They may not have given us much to smile about so far - but tram bosses are aiming to change all that when the service goes live.

A recruitment drive for modern day “clippies” is looking for staff who will go to work to “have fun” and make first-class customer service their top priority.

The crew who will be “the face of the trams” to the travelling public will also be given conflict training to defuse any on-board flare-ups.

Transport chiefs say they will be more than equipped to deal with everything from fare dodgers to sozzled, trouble-making passengers.

A council insider said: “They’ll be trained to deal with any conflict situations ... and be ready for all circumstances.”

The recruitment process will see 52 “personable” people appointed to the £17,000-a-year ‘ticketing service assistant’ roles. They will be responsible for checking tickets, issuing fines and helping with crowd control during special events along the eight-mile long tram route.

Transport chiefs are mindful that inspectors will play a key part in the experience of passengers using the £776 million service from Edinburgh Airport to York Place.

Edinburgh Trams general manager Tom Norris said they were looking to recruit people who would enjoy the job and “have fun”.

“We are looking for applicants who are professional and committed and with these customer-facing roles, it’s also important that we recruit people who want to enjoy their job and have fun. This is a chance to be a part of Edinburgh’s history, to be able to say you were part of the team when Trams returned to the streets of Edinburgh.”

Transport and planning consultant Robert Drysdale said his experience with friendly inspectors in Nottingham and Sheffield had left him with a positive opinion of the tram systems in both cities. He said: “I was struck in both places how friendly the ticket issuers, or the conductors, were. They were authoritative, but well informed and they were looking after you.

“The point about them being the face of Edinburgh is an important one. I came away with a favourable impression of those two cities because the crews were so helpful.”

A comprehensive training programme has been promised for successful clippies before the service launches. City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said that visits to other tram cities such as 
Dublin would be used to set the training given to inspectors.

She confirmed the training in conflict management would be augmented by extensive tuition on fare types, timetables and safety procedures.

She said: “Understandably there has been a focus on the role that tram drivers will play in the launch of the new service and we were overwhelmed at the amount of interest in these positions.

“However, we need a whole team to help ensure the smooth running of the new tram service and TSAs will play a vital part in this.

“They will be the face of the service, dealing directly with the public on a daily basis, and so we’re looking for personable, professional people who will help us to deliver an efficient and customer focused tram service for Edinburgh.”