City Mourns Tram Stop, Demands a Resurrection
A public funeral for a dying tram stop at the corner of Collins and Russell Streets will be held on Monday 23 May. Traders, passengers and elderly citizens' groups will form a solemn procession in Collins Street and urge the Transport Minister to 'see sense' before more stops die.
Born on 2 October 1886, Tram Stop 7 was a tireless and faithful servant of the people of Melbourne. For 118 years it served workers, shoppers, theatre goers, restaurants and cinemas as well as tourists who delighted in the charm of Melbourne's trams.
But now Tram Stop 7 is one of four stops condemned to death by the State Government and private operator Yarra Trams. The stops will go after local council road engineers declared that it was the only way to speed up the trams.
In an effort to keep the stops alive, retailer and tram user groups including the Collins Street Precinct Association, the Public Transport Users Association, ARPA Over 50s and the Athenaeum and Alexandra Clubs threw their support behind an alternative proposal to speed up trams and provide disability access. The proposal would retain all stops in their current locations, replace at least three and up to six stops with modestly designed platform stops (the current Yarra Trams plan will build only three platform stops, using a very expensive design), and make changes to traffic light sequences to reduce the 'dead time' that trams spend waiting at red lights.
"Unfortunately, this was too much for the road engineers in the council," said PTUA Vice-president Chris Loader. "They'd already spent four years plotting the assassination of these tram stops in secret with Yarra Trams and the government, and weren't going to let the public stop the axe falling."
The death of Tram Stop 7 will be commemorated on Monday 23rd May, starting at 12:30pm. Dignitaries will address the mourners, after which Tram Stop 7 will be laid to rest in its coffin, and a cortege will travel along Collins Street to deliver the deceased to Transport Minister Peter Batchelor.
By Divine providence Mr Batchelor has the power to perform a resurrection, simply by throwing his weight behind the alternative tram plan. But if he does not, tram stops throughout Melbourne are doomed. Already, the deadly plague is spreading to Flinders Street, Victoria Parade and Cotham Road. "We hope the Minister sees sense, that the way to speed up trams is through traffic light priority, not killing stops," Mr Loader said.
"First we lost our conductors, now we're losing our tram stops. What else will we end up mourning?"
© 2010 Public Transport Users Association Inc. (PTUA), Victoria, Australia. ABN 83 801 487 611.
Last Modified: 20 May 2005