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Yarra Trams

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Title: Yarra Trams  
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Subject: Trams in Melbourne, D-class Melbourne tram, Keolis Downer, Preston Workshops, B-class Melbourne tram
Collection: 1997 Establishments in Australia, Trams in Melbourne
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Yarra Trams

Industry Tram operator
Predecessor The Met
Founded October 1997
Headquarters Melbourne
Area served
Key people
Clement Michel (CEO)
Parent Keolis Downer

Yarra Trams is the trading name of the Melbourne tram network, which is owned by VicTrack and which is leased to Yarra Trams by Public Transport Victoria on behalf of the Victorian State Government. The current franchise is operated by Keolis Downer. As at May 2014, Yarra Trams operate 487 trams, across 26 tram routes and a free City Circle tourist tram, over 1,763 tram stops. With 250 km (155.3 mi) of double track, Melbourne's tram network is the largest in the world.[1]

In 2012/13 182.7 million journeys were taken on Melbourne's trams, with trams travelling more than 24.8 million kilometres annually. Each week Yarra Trams operates 31,400 scheduled tram services, which results in trams operating for approximately 20 hours per day and a team of 24-hour operations staff completing network maintenance and cleaning.[1]


  • History 1
    • 1997 – 2002 1.1
    • 2003 – 2009 1.2
    • 2010 – present 1.3
  • Operations 2
    • Fleet 2.1
    • Ticketing 2.2
    • Network expansion 2.3
    • Think Tram 2.4
    • Beware the Rhino 2.5
  • Legislation and governance 3
    • Transport Integration Act 3.1
    • Rail Safety Act 3.2
    • Ticketing and conduct 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


1997 – 2002

Yarra Trams – Transdev TSL Logo

Yarra Trams was established in October 1997 when Met Tram was split into two business units in preparation for privatisation of the Public Transport Corporation. In August 1999, Transdev TSL commenced operating the Yarra Trams franchise.[2][3]

2003 – 2009

B2 2104 on Swanston Street in an early Transdev TSL livery

After National Express handed in the M>Tram franchise in December 2002,[4] the State Government expressed interest in creating one metropolitan train operator and one tram operator. On 18 April 2004, Transdev TSL assumed operation of the whole Melbourne tram network.[2]

TransdevTSL was shortlisted to bid for the franchise when it came up for renewal but lost to Keolis Downer who took over in November 2009.[5][6] The Yarra Trams brand was retained.[7]

2010 – present

The current franchise commenced on 30 November 2009, and will run for eight years, with the option of an extension for a further seven years. Keolis Downer introduced a new Yarra Trams logo along with a new livery featuring yellow doors.



C.3010 in Transdev TSL livery on Spencer Street in May 2007
Z3 183 in Keolis Downer livery in December 2009

As at June 2013 the fleet consists of 478 trams, operated from eight depots located around the system.[1] The bulk of the fleet is made up of Z, A and B class trams, which were built by Comeng between 1975 and 1994.

In October 2001, Yarra Trams took delivery of 36 Citadis trams which have primarily operated on route 109 to complement the extension to Box Hill. As part of the acquisition of the failed M>Tram in 2004, Yarra acquired 39 Combino trams and oversaw the delivery of another 20 Combino trams originally ordered by National Express. These Combino trams are leased from and owned by Commonwealth Bank, rather than the state.

Yarra Trams also operate heritage W-class trams, namely on the City Circle tourist service, as well as the Restaurant Trams. W-class trams are also used on routes 30 and 78. Due to these trams being limited to 40 km/h (24.9 mph) as a result of a series of modifications due to braking problems, their use is restricted to ensure limited interference with modern trams.

In 2003, Yarra Trams trialled a seating layout which became known as "Apollo". The trial involved removing 30 seats from a B-class tram and replacing the removed seats with "bum racks" which are found in Citadis trams. This resulted in a higher capacity for standing passengers on crowded services during peak hours. A further ten trams received the seating layout during refurbishment.

The network must become compliant with disability legislation, which will require all trams to have the low floors that the Citadis, Siemens and Bombardier trams all have. It also will require stops to become platform stops, or normal street stops modified at the very least to become 'Easy Access Stops', such as those found in Bridge Road, Richmond, as well as South Melbourne and East Melbourne. To this end, the Victorian Government must also ultimately invest in a sizeable number of new trams to accommodate this need, or risk having a non-compliant network.

Currently, Yarra Trams are giving all Z/A/B class trams new livery which features yellow doors and a big green leaf in the center for Z/A class trams and two big leaves on each end for the B class fleet. They are also receiving new internal signs and seat covers whilst they are being re-branded. The seat covers are a green colour with leaf patterns. The C and D class fleet received a livery with new logos and yellow doors, but retaining their previous livery design. The interior of these trams have started to be updated with the new network maps, signage and seat covers.

The first five of fifty new Flexity Swift trams, designated as E class, have been delivered by Bombardier Transportation, Dandenong.[8] These E-class trams will initially be allocated to Southbank depot to be used on route 96 from East Brunswick to St Kilda Beach. D2 class trams (5-car Siemens 'Combino' trams) from Southbank depot will be gradually reallocated to Brunwick, to primarily be used on the high-capacity route 19. The retirement of all Z1/2 class trams is due to begin in 2014, gradually shifting all B class trams from Southbank/Brunswick depots to Glenhuntly to operate routes 3, 64 and 67 with these higher-capacity trams. This will release all of Glenhuntly's remaining Z3 trams to shift to Malvern (replacing the Z1/2 class trams currently in use there, which will then be retired).


Yarra Trams run under the PTV banner, as do other operators of public transport franchises in metropolitan Melbourne, and use the myki ticketing system. Metcard tickets have not been accepted on trams since December 2012, and coin-only Metcard ticket machines and validators have been removed. Seats were installed in place of the ticket machines.

The entire tram network has now changed over to the myki smartcard fare collection system, with passengers needing to buy and top up a valid myki before boarding, or risk a fine of up to $180. Myki cards can be purchased from all staffed railway stations and retail outlets displaying a myki logo, including at all 7-Eleven convenience stores. They cannot be purchased or topped up on board a tram.

All tram routes operate entirely within Zone 1. However, routes 75, 86 and 109 enter the Zone 1/2 overlap at the very end of their outer-suburban routes. If a passenger begins and ends their journey completely within the Zone 1/2 overlap, they can touch off to receive a slightly lower fare. If any part of the journey is within Zone 1, there is no need for the passenger to touch off as the fare is automatically calculated. Touching off on a zone 1 journey is both redundant and may cause delay or inconvenience to other passengers and the tram networks 'on time' performance. If passengers only travel in the free tram zone, they are no need to touch on their myki.

Network expansion

New platform stop under construction

Since privatisation, the tram network has grown in size as a result of a number of extensions. The accessibility of the network has also been improved, with 360 platform stops built as of January 2014.[9]

In March 2000 services were extended to the new Melbourne Docklands precinct. Since then, a line connecting La Trobe and Flinders Streets via Docklands has been constructed as well as a further extension along Docklands Drive to NewQuay, which opened in January 2005. route 109 was extended 2.2 km (1.4 mi) from Mont Albert to Box Hill in May 2003. The extension to Box Hill has provided a direct link between Box Hill and suburbs such as Balwyn, Kew and Richmond.

In July 2005, a 3 km (1.9 mi) extension of route 75 from East Burwood to Vermont South opened. Critics argue that the line should have been extended to Westfield Knox (as promised by the incumbent State Government in 1999). A shuttle bus service, operated by Ventura Bus Lines, provides a service between Vermont South and Westfield Knox which sees each tram met by a connecting bus.

Think Tram

Full-time tram lane

Yarra Trams is a partner in the Think Tram program with Vic Roads, aimed at improving tram travel time and reliability. In conjunction with the Victorian government several initiatives are in place to enable trams to better meet punctuality targets. These include 'T-lights' which give trams priority at traffic signals, as well as part-time tram lanes and full-time tram lanes.

Part-time tram lanes are used often only during peak hours, with an example of this being on High Street along the route 6. Vehicles must not enter a part-time tram lane at any point during the nominated times except to avoid an obstruction, or perform a right turn; even then, vehicles must not proceed by law into the lane to do so unless they will not delay any approaching tram/s from either direction. The limit for staying in the lane to avoid an obstruction or turn right is 50 metres, at which point a vehicle must exit the lane entirely.

Full-time tram lanes often utilise raised curb dividers to physically prevent cars from straying onto tram tracks. Examples of these dividers can be seen on Spencer Street, Swanston Street in Carlton and Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. Vehicles must not enter a full-time tram lane at any time except to avoid an obstruction; even then, vehicles must not proceed by law into the lane to do so unless they will not delay any approaching tram/s from either direction. The limit for staying in the lane to avoid an obstruction is 50 metres, at which point a vehicle must exit the lane entirely. Some lanes only allow this to occur at certain points, or breaks, in the raised dividers. Crossing the raised dividers otherwise can cause severe damage to a vehicle.

Beware the Rhino

A D2 promoting the 'Beware the Rhino' campaign in 2012

In May 2011 Yarra Trams launched their 'Beware The Rhino' safety campaign, aiming to increase awareness of tram traffic. It analogises a stampede of rhinoceroses as being as dangerous as a tram, highlighting the dangers that people put themselves in when they move into the path of a tram.[10] The campaign has won creativity awards,[11] and was refocused in 2013.[12]

Legislation and governance

Transport Integration Act

The prime transport-related statute in Victoria is the Transport Integration Act 2010, which establishes the Department of Transport as the integration agency for Victoria's transport system. The Act also establishes and sets the charters of the state agencies charged with providing public transport rail services and managing network access for freight services, namely the Director of Public Transport and V/Line. The Director of Public Transport is empowered by the Transport Integration Act to contract transport operators to provide rail and bus services and has used those powers to contract Yarra Trams to provide tram services in Melbourne.[13]

In addition, the Transport Integration Act establishes VicTrack which owns the public rail network and associated infrastructure. Another important statute is the Rail Management Act 1996[14] which confers powers on rail operators and provides for an access scheme for the state's rail network. The Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous Act) 1983 is also a relevant statute relating to public transport and contains a number of offences relating to safety, ticketing and amenity.

Rail Safety Act

The safety of rail transport operations in Melbourne is regulated by the Rail Safety Act 2006 which applies to all commercial passenger operations.[15] The Act establishes a framework containing safety duties for all rail industry participants and requires operators who manage infrastructure and rolling stock to obtain accreditation prior to commencing operations. Accredited operators are also required to have a safety management system to guide their operations. Sanctions applying to the safety scheme established under the Rail Safety Act are contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983.[16] The safety regulator for the rail system in Melbourne including trams is the Director, Transport Safety (trading as Transport Safety Victoria) whose office is established under the Transport Integration Act 2010.

Ticketing and conduct

Ticketing requirements for trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are mainly contained in the Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006[17] and the Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual.[18] Rules about safe and fair conduct on trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are generally contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983[19] and the Transport (Conduct) Regulations 2005.[20]

Yarra Trams employs approximately 265 Authorized Officers, whose job is to report ticketing and behavioural offences onboard trams, tram lines, stops and other tram related properties to the Victorian Department of Transport, and to provide customer service and assistance. All public transport modes employ Authorised Officers, who have powers similar to those of the police. They are permitted to arrest and detain offenders, if they believe an offence has been committed. Furthermore, they are also allowed to exercise discretion in all cases and may choose to warn offenders instead of formally reporting them. In line with the current Victorian Government's zero tolerance crackdown on antisocial behaviour, more fines are now being issued more often in a bid to stamp out not only fare evasion, but misdemeanours that include the placing of feet on seats/seat furniture, aggressive behaviour towards staff or other passengers, interfering with or holding doors open, being in possession of an open container of alcohol on board, littering, graffiti and many other offences. Protective Services Officer (PSOs) and transit police also regularly target the tram network with routine patrols and can remove offending passengers for fare evasion or other unlawful behaviour.

The Victorian Health and Transport Ministers both jointly announced that Victoria would strengthen legislation in early 2014 to completely ban all smoking anywhere within a railway station, at a raised platform tram stop or within a tram or bus shelter. This ban took effect on 1 March 2014.[21] The government has stated it is considering extending these bans on public transport property even further, and has advised Authorized Officers, Victorian Police and Protective Services Officer (PSOs) will all enforce the new regulations.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Facts & figures". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Trams in Melbourne". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Heasley, Andrew (24 December 2002). "Receivers take over train, tram group".  
  5. ^ "Two from three shortlisted".  
  6. ^ Cooper, Mex (25 June 2009). "New train, tram operators for Melbourne".  
  7. ^ Gardiner, Ashley (2 September 2009). "New operators promise a smoother ride in time for summer".  
  8. ^ Carey, Adam; Butt, Craig (19 June 2013). "Tram squeeze eases but some still suffer".  
  9. ^ "Accessible trams".  
  10. ^ "Positive results following Beware The Rhino campaign". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Rhino is named Australia's best". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Drivers beware – The rhino returns with a new safety message". Yarra Trams. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010], section 68(2)(b).
  14. ^ "Rail Management Act 1996" ( 
  15. ^ "Rail Safety Act 2006" ( 
  16. ^ "Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983" ( 
  17. ^ "Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006" ( 
  18. ^ "Ticketing manual 2014" ( 
  19. ^ "Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983". Victoria Legislation and Parliamentary Documents. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Transport (Conduct) Regulations 2005". Victoria Legislation and Parliamentary Documents. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Train and tram platform smoking ban to be extended".  

External links

  • Company website
  • tramTRACKER
  • Think>Tram Website
Preceded by
Public Transport Corporation
Trams in Melbourne
(East/west CBD routes)

Succeeded by
Keolis Downer
Preceded by
Trams in Melbourne
(North/south CBD routes)

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