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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Free Tram Zone is here to stay

30 Aug 2018

Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone is here to stay, with tripartisan supported offered by Labor, Liberals and The Greens at a Metropolitan Transport Forum at Melbourne Town Hall on August 13.

Representatives of all parties pledged support for the free tram service in response to a public questioner who suggested it primarily benefited tourists and motorists.

The question was: “How does the Free Tram Zone provide value to the city outside of incentivising drivers to park in town and take advantage of (free) public transport at the expense of paying customers?”

Greens spokesperson Sam Hibbins said: “We don’t have a plan to either extend or remove the Free Tram Zone. The Free Tram Zone is contributing to overcrowding and probably put the Bike Share out of business, when they were already struggling a bit. So, yeah, I take your point.”

Liberal shadow transport minister David Davis his party had no plans to amend the scheme, should it win the November state election.

Mr Davis said: “The Free Tram Zone was our creation, prior to the 2014 election and implemented by the current government in January 2015.”

“It is wildly popular. People actually like and people do move around the city with it. There’s no question about that.”

“In terms of the range of people who use it? I think it’s wider than you have actually allowed for. It’s not just tourists and a few people who have driven into the city. It’s people who are moving inside the city during the day. It’s people who live on the edge of the city – down in Docklands and other areas.”

“We have to plans to diminish the Free Tram Zone. I understand the crowding that it has brought forward in the sense that it is actually popular. It is actually used. In one sense, that is a recognition of its success and, long term, there will have to be thoughts about how we manage that,” Mr Davis concluded.

Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said: “The Free Tram Zone has been a good addition to the city.”

“It certainly has caused some challenges to our overall tram network which we are managing very carefully with Yarra Trams and it’s also why we need to order more tram rolling stock.”

“I must say that tourists are an enormously valuable part of how the City of Melbourne operates. The contribution they make to our economy, the way they support our hospitality and retail, you look at the convention centre, you look at the big conventions they bring in.”

“The 24/7 economy we have here in the City of Melbourne is a really important part of how our city operates. We widely back it in through our Visit Victoria program and our Free Tram Zone is, at its heart, a way for tourists to get around the city.”

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