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Media Release


Give back our seats

More trams, not fewer seats, to fix crowding

The Public Transport Users Association today called upon the Transport Minister and Yarra trams to explain why they have been allowed to remove around one third of the seats from some of their B class tram fleet.

PTUA Vice president Anna Morton said she was astonished when boarding a B class tram to see that the seats opposite the doors had been removed, and replaced with padded ledges similar to those on the new Citadis trams. "My first thought was that the tram was like a Citadis inside, and one of their biggest faults is their low seating capacity for their size." said Dr Morton.

Dr Morton said the seats were ostensibly removed in order to increase capacity of the trams for peak hour services, but that this would prove counterproductive. "People in Melbourne want to be able to sit on trams. Especially on the longer routes such as Route 86 to Bundoora, you cannot expect people to stand the sort of distances people travel." said Dr Morton. "Removing some seats will marginally increase capacity in peak hour, but will put people off using trams, especially during off peak times when crowding is not currently an issue, but getting a seat on a tram when a third of the seats have been removed may well be."

Dr Morton said that overcrowding on some routes during peak hour showed a lack of capacity, but that this should be solved by running more trams, or running B class trams where smaller trams currently run, rather than by removing seats to fit a couple more people on the existing services at the expense of passenger comfort. She also said the PTUA was disappointed not only at the removal of the seats, but that it had occurred without proper consultation.

"We would like to know what Yarra thinks they are doing, and why the Transport Minister has allowed this to happen to publicly owned and funded vehicles without any consultation."

Dr Morton added that plenty of trams are available to run more peak hour services.

"M>Tram are throwing more of the Z-class trams in the bin each day, because there is supposedly not a shortage of trams. With new Combino trams arriving, there should be plenty of trams to increase frequencies and reduce overcrowding - not to mention the many W-class trams sitting in mothballs that could be made operational at minimal cost."

"The tram companies need to increase capacity in peak times, but removing seats from trams is totally unacceptable. Give back our seats, and run more trams instead," Concluded Dr Morton.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 15 April 2003