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Media Release


Road Engineers Support Plan To Close Tram Stops

Tram Passengers, Business Leaders Ignored

A Yarra Trams proposal to close one-third of tram stops in Collins Street has won the support of Melbourne City Council road engineers, but very few others, community groups said today.

The council has issued a new report detailing the proposed tram stop changes together with alternative proposals. However the report, prepared by the council's traffic engineers, does not alter the initial recommendation to axe three tram stops and move others away from intersections. The plans are opposed by the Public Transport Users Association, the Collins Street Precinct Association, the Collins Street Traders Association, ARPA Over 50s and other business and community groups.

PTUA Secretary Tony Morton was not surprised by the finding. "It's like asking General Motors to report on whether to replace trams with buses," he said. "Their conclusion follows automatically from their assessment criteria, which take no account of tram passengers. They've gone to great length to identify every motorist that might be inconvenienced by the alternatives, but they have completely ignored the serious inconvenience suffered by tram passengers who have their stops removed under the preferred option."

Dr Morton added that the assessment ran contrary to the council's own sustainability objectives. "It's a stated aim of the council that they want to encourage public transport. This means that as a minimum, you have to treat public transport users on equal terms with motorists. This report doesn't do so: it actually recommends that tram users be made to suffer in order that car traffic can continue to increase. Councillors are getting flawed advice from their staff and must reconsider."

Dr Morton called on the council to support the alternative proposal put forward by Cr Fraser Brindley, which would achieve the same 3-minute time saving for Collins Street trams without removing stops. "You get the same time saving if you just make some changes to the traffic light sequences," Dr Morton explained. "This has been suggested by Yarra Trams themselves, and even by Vicroads, as an alternative to axing stops. The only people still insisting that stops have to be removed are the council road engineers."

Dr Morton also drew attention to other proposals to remove tram stops, including in Victoria Parade. "We have no objection to platform stops, but it concerns us that every time Yarra Trams proposes an upgrade they also want to remove stops. We don't want to have to repeat this exercise in every single street; we'd like Yarra Trams to state publicly whether they plan to remove stops across the whole network or not."

The tram stop proposal and Cr Brindley's alternative proposal will be considered by the council's Planning and Development Committee next Tuesday evening.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 8 April 2005