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August 09 Edition Cover

Trams short change local commuters

05 Dec 2017

Trams short change local commuters Image

By Sunny Liu

Commuters and residents in Docklands often face the frustration of being told to get off a tram ahead of their stop due to late running, but Yarra Trams says short shunts are unavoidable.

Tram routes 30, 70, 75 and 86 heading towards Docklands can often terminate before their designated terminal, with the driver urging passengers to get on the next tram.

NewQuay resident John Kakos said he believed trams terminating ahead of their destinations was a tactic used by Yarra Trams to “make their stats look better”.

Mr Kakos said, on a few occasions, he had to get off trams at Central Pier instead of the designated destination Waterfront City.

“It can be quite inconvenient, especially for elderly and disabled people. They should be taken to the end of the journey,” he said.

“I think (Yarra Trams) does this to make their reliability appear better. But they are supposed to benefit consumers.”

In October, tram 86 travelling to and from Waterfront City had 77.57 per cent punctuality, the lowest among all trams in the city and only marginally higher than the 77 per cent threshold before Yarra Trams to compensate its passengers.

Mr Kakos said delays happened frequently on tram 86 and being in the Free Tram Zone means compensation was off the table.

“There’s a punctuality issue with tram 86 in particular. Because it’s in a Free Tram Zone, (Yarra Trams) don’t need to compensate their passengers and seems to be less concerned about punctuality,” Mr Kakos said.

A Yarra Trams spokesperson said collisions, traffic jams, emergency service requests or rallies could often cause trams to turn short of their destination.

“We recognise that a tram terminating short of its destination can be frustrating for passengers and we do what we can to minimise the number of instances.”

“However, in many cases it is unavoidable in order to provide a balanced service,” the spokesperson said.

The state government has signed a new contract with Yarra Trams and stricter rules will be applied to prohibit the service provider from changing services to meet punctuality from November 30.

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