Victorian Greens unveil $6.4 billion tram network policy

Victorian Greens unveil $6.4 billion tram network policy
Victorian Greens unveil $6.4 billion tram network policy

The Victorian Greens have unveiled a 10-year plan to purchase 300 high-capacity trams costing $4.1 billion over the decade and furthermore announced $2.3 billion worth of tram route upgrades, as part of the 2018 state election campaign.

By prioritising the busiest tram routes, the Greens aim to rebuild stops with low-platforms similar to other parts of the network, noting the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992 requires 90% of the network to be accessible by 2017.  As of today, only 25% of the network has accessible tram stops.

Routes 109, 86, 58, 19, 11, 6 and 1 are the highest priority tram routes for upgrades.  These routes also travel through electorates where there are sitting Greens members or attracted a strong vote in the previous election.

Melburnians love our trams, but right now too many of them are overcrowded, slow and un-accessible. We need investment right now to transform the network.

The busiest and most overcrowded routes will be upgraded first, with level access stops along the entire route, better separation from traffic and traffic light priority. It means better access, more reliability and a better experience for passengers.

The Greens' investment in new high capacity trams will also be on the track sooner by supercharging the manufacturing process right here in Melbourne.

Sam Hibbins, Greens spokesperson for Transport

Route 109 from Box Hill to Port Melbourne has some accessible tram stops however like many other routes, they are inconsistent and predominantly exist only at high patronage stops outside the central city - such as Victoria Gardens in Richmond and at the eastern terminus in Box Hill.

Route 86 which along with the Mernda tram line, is the backbone of north-south public transport through Thornbury, Northcote and Clifton Hill, as well as the main route through Smith Street in Fitzroy, appears second on the list of priorities for investment.

One part of the pledge by the Greens is to manufacture 30 trams per annum in Victoria over 10 years, which accounts for the bulk of the money.  Bombardier are manufacturing E-Class trams in Dandenong however, the Green's policy pledge does not mention a specific manufacturer.

The Greens' statement cites an ABC report that outlines how Melbourne's trams are some of the slowest in the world.  The ABC report which in turn cites Yarra Trams' figures claims the average speed of a tram in Melbourne is 16kph outside of the inner city, and 11kph in the CBD.

Route 96 is an existing project that the Green's pledge cites as an example of how tram routes would be upgraded.  Entire routes would have level access/accessible tram stops, higher priority for trams at traffic lights and 'better separation of trams from general traffic' are mentioned

It is unclear whether route & infrastructure upgrades will result in the removal of some or all on-street car parking on narrow roads.

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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Victorian Election 2018

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