Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — (12 876) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is for new E-class trams to be rolled out on tramlines that use St Kilda Road on routes 3, 5, 6, 58, 64 and 67. These tram routes are experiencing overcrowding and are operating over capacity, particularly between 8 and 9 in the morning, according to the latest data. One of the first campaigns that I ran when newly elected was to lobby the government to manufacture 50 new high-capacity trams to reduce overcrowding and create jobs. Whilst the government has subsequently ordered 30 new trams as part of its rolling stock strategy, it only maintains the existing 10 trams a year production when this could be doubled for 20 trams a year. The remaining 70 new trams in the rolling stock strategy are so far unfunded and are not all due to be on the track until 2021.
Along with new trams on the St Kilda Road routes need to come improved frequencies. The merger of routes 8 and 55 to route 55 has been problematic because of the very reason I stated when the idea was floated: that merging two overcrowded lines together and requiring passengers travelling to Swanston Street to go from one overcrowded service to another would simply result in continued overcrowding when new trams and more services are required. Services on the new route 58 have increased slightly; however, Stonnington council were advised that in merging and redirecting this service the service frequency would increase to 5 minutes during the a.m. peak and 6 minutes during the p.m. peak. However, tram frequencies on the new route 58 do not meet these standards. Similarly they were also told that weekend frequencies would rise to every 10 minutes, but they are still running at every 12 minutes on weekends.
The new route should have also resulted in increased services along St Kilda Road routes. Public Transport Victoria's own information sheet when the merged line proposal was first floated said:
"Customers travelling on St Kilda Road could benefit from more frequent trams due to the joining of routes 8 and 55 …"
The original plan was that routes 5, 6 and 72, as advised to Stonnington, if all the recommendations were implemented, would see a 10-minute minimum frequency across weekdays, but this has not occurred. No new trams have been scheduled despite the freed-up capacity on St Kilda Road. So I would urge the government to roll out new high-capacity trams along the St Kilda Road tram routes, to increase the production of these new trams — new high-capacity, low-floor trams are needed particularly on route 72, which serves the Alfred hospital — and to increase frequencies along all these routes along St Kilda Road.
The Andrews Labor Government has ordered 30 new E-class trams, taking the total number of trams to be purchased to 80.
As more E-class trams roll-out onto the busiest tram routes, newer trams are cascaded to other routes providing more low floor trams across the network including on route 72.
As part of recent timetable changes, Tram route 55 has been combined with Route 8 to form Route 58, to deliver long-awaited low-floor trams to the hospital precinct, extra services to Prahran, Malvern and Glen Iris, and to ease pressure on the Swanston Street tram corridor which is one of the busiest in the world.
Hon Jacinta Allan MP
Member for Bendigo East
Minister for Public Transport