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TRANSPORT Minister Pat Conlon has refused an invitation to ride the tram in peak hour - and experience for himself the conditions that have commuters fuming. At a press conference at the Oaklands Park train station this morning, Mr Conlon brushed off an invitation from AdelaideNow to ride a morning peak-hour tram from Glenelg to the city.
Mr Conlon refused to take an invitation - printed out on a giant multitrip ticket and presented by AdelaideNow's Matt Neagle - and also refused to accept a print-out of more than 100 comments posted on AdelaideNow by angry commuters. His press secretary later accepted the print-outs.
Mr Conlon said he would not take part in a media "stunt" as he was more interested in assessing ways of improving the city's public transport system. However, he refused to reveal plans to ease overcrowding on trams, telling commuters to "watch this space" in the lead-up to the State Budget on June 5.
Mr Conlon said the Government was "in the process of working up some answers" but would not elaborate. "I can tell you to watch this space and we'll come back to you soon," he said. "There is a Budget around the corner. I've been talking to the Treasurer."
Tram patronage had increased by about 15 per cent since the city extension was opened, Mr Conlon said. Earlier in the year, he told The Advertiser that the Government would wait until patronage levelled out before any decisions were made. Today he conceded passenger numbers had probably steadied.
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