Adjournment: Upgrade the #78 Tram
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for the minister to upgrade the 78 tram. Now, we love the 78 tram in my community. It is our neighbourhood tram. It runs right through the electorate along Chapel Street but then up across the Yarra to Church Street and is a really vital connection between communities on both sides of the Yarra. It is one of the few cross-city trams that does not pass through the CBD, but it has been neglected by governments for many years and is in desperate need of attention. My recent survey of residents and people who use the 78 tram found that this is one of the main issues. It is a really slow route—in fact I believe it has actually been called previously one of the slowest trams in the world. The waits between services are far too long and the tram stops are dangerous and inaccessible.
Residents, the overwhelming majority, responded that they would use it more if it was improved. I have heard that people mainly use the 78 tram for meeting friends, for shopping and for connecting to other public transport. People use it often on the weekend or during the middle of the day, but due to the limited frequency of services people will often use a car instead. One resident even mentioned that taking the 78 tram to work takes the same amount of time as walking. That is a common reflection on the 78 tram, that often you might be better off just walking the length of Chapel Street rather than catching the tram. These concerns are common and really highlight the importance of upgrading this local tram route.
There are several achievable upgrades needed to improve the 78 which have the support of residents, including increasing the frequency of services, increasing the speed and priority for services, for the tram stops to be upgraded and for new, accessible trams to be rolled out along the route. The stops along the 78 tram are dangerous and inaccessible, especially for schoolkids, people with limited mobility, parents with prams, wheelchair users and the elderly, and this discourages many people from using the route 78 tram even more. So, yes, level-access tram stops are needed along the route to make sure that it is accessible and comfortable for everyone. Upgrading the route 78 tram will help ensure that everyone has access to safe, accessible and frequent trams along this important route.
A new timetable was implemented on 19 December 2021 on Route 78 with more consistent spacing between services and a reduction in timetabled journey times providing faster and more reliable services to tram passengers.
The Andrews Labor Government is committed to delivering accessible tram stops and is undertaking work on a Stop Rollout Plan, which is investigating options for streamlining the design and construction of accessible tram stops and prioritising tram stop upgrades across the network.
Accessibility also requires appropriate rolling stock, which is why the Government has invested $1.48 billion to design and manufacture 100 Next Generation Trams in the biggest single investment in trams in decades. The Next Generation Trams will add to the 100 E Class trams and will further facilitate the retirement of older high-floor trams and will be in service from 2025. The introduction of the new trams will, over time, result in low-floor vehicles being allocated across more tram routes. The routes which will receive low floor trams first have been chosen based on the level of demand and the need for accessible tram services.
In the 2021-22 Budget, funding was provided for the development of a public transport accessibility strategy that will set out a pathway for realising universal accessibility across the public transport network. The Department of Transport will involve people with disability in all the stages of development of this strategy.
The Hon Ben Carroll MP
Minister for Public Transport
Minister for Roads and Road Safety
22 April 2022