But he said there was enough evidence to indicate that the transport agency “shouldn’t be rushing” to press some trams back into service, and it was adopting a cautious approach.
“At the moment, it’s not going to be a couple of days or a week or two – it’s going to be extended. We’d be certainly looking at a month or more,” he said.
“Safety is first, and we do need the technical experts to complete their reviews over the next week to actually land on a specific conclusion.”
More than two dozen buses have been providing replacement services between Central and Dulwich Hill for commuters since Thursday, at a cost to the government of several thousand dollars a day.
Labor transport spokeswoman Jo Haylen said passengers were paying the price of the government’s poor decision to buy overseas-built trams and a failure to properly check and maintain them.
“These cracks in the inner west light rail fleet didn’t appear overnight. They went unnoticed for months,” she said.
“The government has said that these vehicles are inspected every 30 days but if that’s the case, then why weren’t these issues discovered earlier? It’s clear there hasn’t been sufficient oversight and, as a result, there are now cracks in every single tram.”
The 67-metre tram sets that run on the $3.1 billion eastern suburbs light rail line cannot be used to carry passengers on the inner west line because of different standards such as gaps between platforms and carriages.
Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins said none of the cracks posed a “safety issue” but it was still decided last Wednesday that the private operator of the line would withdraw the inner west trams from service.
Mr Collins said the cracks were “unique and unusual”, and “appear to have some longevity”.
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