Number of accessible trams stops to rise across Melbourne's tram network

Number of accessible trams stops to rise across Melbourne's tram network
Number of accessible trams stops to rise across Melbourne's tram network

Spring Street has announced a new wave of tram stop upgrades which will see $19 million spent on upgrading stops in both the north and south of the city's network.

6 stops between Victoria Parade and Kerr Street along Nicholson Street in Carlton/Fitzroy will be upgraded with centre island platforms.  The #96 East Brunswick - St Kilda Beach route is now 100% operated by low-floor E-class trams.

Special attention will be given to the tram stop opposite Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition building to enable all passengers between the stop and the Carlton Gardens safely and easily.

The Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said that Melbourne had a fleet of 163 low floor trams and "more than 420 raised stops on the network and we will continue to introduce new trams and stops to make our network more accessible ."  Work on the northern section of the #96 route will begin later in the year.

From mid-2019 onwards works to improve interchange between trains at Flagstaff station and William / La Trobe street trams will kick off and the William Street stops at the corner of Bourke & William Street will be upgrade to match the accessible stops in Bourke Street.

The #58 West Coburg - Toorak route runs past the Royal Children's, Royal Women's and Royal Melbourne Hospitals and began seeing D-class low-floor trams operate some services in 2017.  The older Z-Class and B-Class non-low floor trams, also operate on the #58.

Balaclava station will also see new accessible stops created on Carlisle Street to improve accessibility at the interchange with the #3 tram and Sandringham line trains and the Bundoora RMIT stop on the #86 will also be upgraded.

According to a Spring Street media release, 63 next generation low-floor E-Class trams are now operating on the network with another 17 to be manufactured at Bombardier's facility in Dandenong.

The State Government has also announced the free tram zone's geographic reach will be extended temporarily to help with moving people to major events while various construction blitzs are underway.

On the weekends from the 2nd of June to the 17th of June, while the construction blitz previously announced for the Dandenong line is underway, the free tram zone will be extended to the various stops on Wellington Parade adjacent to the MCG.

Buses will be replacing trains between Caulfield and Westall as works on the level crossing removal projects in the area are finalised. Caulfield junction will see major signalling work completed during the shutdown period.

The entire Gippsland V/Line train service will be replaced with Coaches.

The temporary extension will be in operation for the NRL State of Origin match to be played on Wednesday 6th of June and the Queen's birthday match of Collingwood and Melbourne at the MCG.

The State Government has rolled out a new website where users can enter their postcode and be provided with a map & summary of all transport network disruptions. 

 

See bigbuild.vic.gov.au for more information.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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Melbourne Public Transport Trams Accessibility

Comments (6)

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tayser
Support for stop rationalisation should come through increased off-peak frequencies - think about it using that example above.

2 minutes to walk 200m (more than the average stop to stop distance now).
If the average stop to stop distance shifts upwards to 400-500m (say), then that's a 5-ish minute walk.
We've all done it before, either in our out of peak, just missing your tram (or train or bus), imagine if you're making people walk further to a stop, they just miss a tram and the services are only operating every 10-12 minutes like most tram routes do in off-peak now. You could have walked 5 minutes and then only get on a service 10 minutes later. "15 minutes? Christ, why aren't I driving" will probably be the message going through many people's minds in that instance.
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gobillino
Jono - I don't agree that stop rationalisation is too controversial for now. In fact, some degree of rationalisation has accompanied just about any project that has delivered DDA compliant stops. On some of the bigger projects (eg St Kilda Road, Swanston from Victoria to Melbourne Uni), there has probably been a rationalisation of stops by as much as 30-40%, with only small whimpers from local communities.

There is probably scope to up the level of rationalisation beyond that for operational effectiveness, but as theboynoodle points out, unless that is accompanied by a greater degree of traffic light prioritisation, it probably wont achieve that much operationally.
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sealedjono
Melbourne deffinetly needs to do many key DDA stops especially in outer areas but also needs to get people to use the DDA stops over the poles 2mins away as stopping every 200 meters for one person each time is ineficient. Removal is too controversial for now, maybe having schedualed express trams that only stop at key stops (current or future DDA stops) could help (with light priority) get us into the 20th century (from the 19th not 21st) as far as running above jogging speed and stop those 30min gaps on "every 8 mins" lines, because they do run "express" trams and buses, they just don't ever stop unless they are dropping off, which helps 30 mins turn into 40.

Melbourne has 1763 stops on 250kms of track, that's a stop every 142 meters on average, human average walking speed is about 5km/hr, so thats 167 meters in 2 minutes, greater than the distance between stops and a tram takes how long every time it stops... that is some horrible ratios and it's all because of the number of stops, takes the same time to pickup four people as one, so why not let 3 people walk an extra 2 mins instead of the tram and everyone on (and behind) stop for an extra 3 mins? the stop 2mins from mine serves two short dead ends and a U-bend street, not many people.

The majority of stops need to be removed but... in talking with Yarra trams staff and their consultants (during paid surveys and tram layout testing runs) it is very political to remove stops. So the polititions have the power and they will only move or replace stops (upgrade never downgrade) but maybe with some tiny consolidation if they can show a clear and backable reason to do so, such as conserving car parking at local shops and even closer proxcimity to the brand new flashy stop with shelter, realtime displays and the only set of traffic lights to cross safely at the busy road. Staff did mention that when the DDA dates arrives many stops may remain as just poles but with the possiblity of being pickup or drop off only depending on legality issues, but that there should be a major DDA stop within 5 mins walk of all stops, so a max of 10mins walk or 800 meters between.

One Yarra trams survey a while ago was about stops and they discussed things like "if you would walk 10mins to a further stop, instead of 5 mins to the closest, if it had shelter, displays, security cameras, etc", they seemed to be focussing on speed bumb stops and also how safe you feel with different stops at night (if you need cameras and emergency buttons). Do you think we could get stop consolidation or bankrupt the government by making a political issue out of Victoria Police Protective Services Officers needed at every stop (with their box and toilets) for the next election?
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Roark
@Jono, you stated "1763 stops on 250kms of track, that's a stop every 142 meters on average", but I believe that the 250km is base on double track, which means ~284m between stops.
That's still far from ideal, especially if you are talking about the costly upgrades to DDA compliant stops that are being rolled out. Rationalising the number of stops is the only option. Your suggestion to have express stops might be a fair short term option, but in the long term tram priority smart signalling should be able to boost network speeds effectively.
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theboynoodle's picture
"stopping every 200 meters for one person each time is ineficient"

Perhaps. But without traffic light priority, most of them would be stopping anyway, so perhaps it's not as inefficient as it appears. And on shared roads tram progress is dictated by traffic, so, again, how much is to be gained by less stops? Is it more than is lost by having more people getting off/on at fewer stops? Stops/pavements will get more crowded etc.

I think there's a good case for 'rationalizing' stops on routes like the 96 were there's space to build proper stops, and the trams can be given sufficient priority that there should be a payback in speed/frequency of journeys. I'm not sure there's much of a win two blocks over on the 11 until they get rid of parking or through traffic on Brunswick Street (which I'm not holding my breath for).

I'm all for accessible stops and the ambition to have them everywhere. Upgrading stops benefits all users. But it is important to recognize that there are challenges posed at many locations. Some of the network is (or can be) like modern light-rail, but elsewhere the trams are more like big busses.. and nobody is asking to rebuild all the bus stops.
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