Yarra Trams is a tram operating company in Melbourne, Australia. It is a partnership between French company Transdev and Australian company Transfield Services. The company operates 28 major tram routes and 474 vehicles of Melbourne tram vehicles.
After the collapse of M>Train and M>Tram in December 2002, the State Government expressed interest in creating one metropolitan train operator and one tram operator. On 18 April 2004, Yarra Trams assumed operation of the whole Melbourne tram network. The Melbourne tram network spans some 245 km and has over 1,700 tram stops. It is the third biggest tram network in the world.
Yarra Trams current metropolitan franchise expires in 2008. The current CEO of Yarra Trams is Dennis Cliche. Dennis was promoted to this role in September 2005 following the resignation of Hubert Guyot, who left to head a Transdev company in Genoa, Italy. Yarra Trams currently employs around 1,200 tram drivers and 250 customer service staff. Services operate for nearly 20 hours per day. A total of 141 million trips were taken in 2002 and 2003, rising to nearly 150 million in 2004.
The Yarra Trams fleet consists of some 500 trams, operated from eight depots located around the system. 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.
Yarra Trams also operate heritage W Class trams, namely on the City Circle tourist service. W Class trams are also used on routes 30, 78 and 79. Due to these trams being limited to 40km/h as a result of a series of modifications due to braking problems, their use is restricted to ensure limited interface 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.
Yarra Trams currently runs under the Metlink banner and utilises the Metcard ticketing system. Each tram has a coin only ticket machine on board. The on board machines currently sell City Saver, 2 Hour and Daily tickets. Trams are also equipped with a number of ticket validators.
Major superstops in the CBD also have coin-only ticket machines. Tickets can also be purchased from Railway Stations and retail outlets displaying a blue Metcard flag.
Most tram routes operate entirely within Zone 1, however Routes 75, 86 and 109 enter Zone 2.
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 a number of platform stops built.
In March 2000, trams reached the new Melbourne Docklands precinct for the first time. Since then, a line connecting LaTrobe St and Flinders St 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 2.2km 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 3km extension of route 75 from East Burwood to Vermont South opened. Critics argue that the line should have been extended to Knox City Shopping Centre (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 Knox City which sees each tram met by a connecting bus.
Yarra Trams is a partner in the Think Tram program, aimed at improving tram travel time and reliability. In conjunction with the Victorian government several initiatives are in place to run trams better on time.
Such idea implemented is the 'Part-time tram lane' - where trams have right of way on tram tracks often during peak hours. Several ideas such as raised curb dividers have also been in use to physically prevent cars from straying onto tram tracks. An example of these dividers can be seen on Spencer Street.
Yarra Trams have been the subject of criticism for what some consider to be an overly high-handed approach to discouraging fare evasion on its network. On September 14, 2005, it was reported that a young commuter suffered a minor injury when he was arrested by three Authorised Officers for assaulting a female officer with his skateboard after a request was made for his details. The officer sustained a "substantial blow to the head"; but, the alleged offender was remanded to appear in court on charges of assault, refusing to supply name and address, indecent language, and resisting arrest, as well as travelling without a valid ticket. However, some onlookers were not in agreement, claiming that the man was attempting to free himself and was pleading for the officers to stop hurting him.
Recent Metlink surveys suggest that the public's attitude towards ticket inspectors (Authorised Officers) is that of appreciation. It is generally perceived that ticket inspectors do a difficult job, while maintaining the safety of the travelling public. The survey also showed that when people had been annoyed at being reported for fare evasion, they often exaggerated details, and made unfounded complaints. Ticket Inspectors are also targets of the media, even though their sole job is to make Melbourne's public transport system safer and fairer.
Yarra Trams allegedly receives $20 from the Victorian State Government for all fines paid to the state government on their network to help cover the cost of enforcing the Transport Act 1983. This has aroused scepticism in some in regards to the motivation for their recent crack-down on fare evasion.
Franchisee Sues Customer To Recover Fine Payable To Franchisor.(Metrolink Victoria Proprietary Ltd Yarra Trams)
Nov 24, 2009; A car driven by Ryan Inglis collided with a tram owned and operated by Metrolink Victoria Pty Ltd (Franchisee) causing damage to...