Business as usual at Yarra Trams

21 August, 2007

21 August 2007

Yarra Trams assumed responsibility for the operation of Melbourne's entire tram network on 18 April 2004.

Metrolink Victoria Pty Ltd, trading as Yarra Trams, is a joint venture partnership between Australia's Transfield Services Limited and Transdev, the world's largest operator of tram and light rail services.

Yarra Trams' achievements (from April 2004 except when otherwise stated)

Patronage growth
151 million passenger trips (2006/07), up some 30 million from 1998 when the tram network was government operated.

Services and timetables

  • Service improvements on high patronage routes (1, 8, 19, 48, 55, 70, 75, 86 and 96)
  • A 10% increase in passenger kilometres travelled
  • Late night services on Fridays and Saturdays (September 2006)
  • Reintroduction of tram services on William Street on Sundays (August 2005)
  • Shuttle trams every three to five minutes to the Australian Open Tennis and Australian Grand Prix


  • Derailments down by 55%
  • Collisions involving trams down by 27%
  • Falls by tram passengers down by 31%
  • For Yarra Trams staff, the Lost Time Injury rate fell from 40.3 (including M>Tram) to 5.5.


  • Partnership with Victoria Police as part of the Love Your Trams campaign to combat anti-social behaviour on the tram network. 
  • Authorised Officers deployed across the network from first to last tram every day.
  • Yarra Trams has also stepped up the installation CCTV onboard trams.
  • Assaults against Authorised Officers are down by 52%.

Fare evasion

  • Down from 18% to 9.2% (immediately before Yarra Trams took responsibility for the entire tram network in April 2004, fare evasion on trams was estimated at 22%).
  • At the same time, complaints against Authorised Officers have declined by 22%.
  • Yarra Trams convened a national transport industry forum on fare compliance.


  • Cancellations reduced from 0.70% in 2000 (1st half) to 0.27% in 2007 (1st half).
  • Punctuality improved from 62.7% in 2000 (1st half) to 82% in 2007 (1st half).  This is despite increasing traffic congestion in the inner suburbs where most trams operate.

Industrial Relations
No hours lost to industrial disputation.

Absenteeism declined from 7.8% in 1998 to 4.6% in 2007.

Infrastructure projects

  • More than 180 platform stops have been built across the network to improve accessibility and safety
  • Network extensions to Box Hill, Docklands and Vermont South
  • Rubber boot technology has been introduced to reduce vibration and wear of tracks, resulting less noise, longer durability and improved ride for passengers
  • Overhead powerline (trolley wire) renewed along 39km of double track
  • Renewal of 19.1km of underground cable (16.9km more than planned)
  • Renewed 19km of double track (including 6km in 2006/07)
  • Major track upgrades in CBD (Collins Street and Bourke Street)
  • Reconstruction of tram depot facilities at Brunswick, Glenhuntly, Malvern, Kew and Essendon - these are one in 50 year projects.

Involvement in State projects

  • Yarra Trams is contracted to install the equipment for the new ticketing system
  • Consulting on the procurement of new rolling stock
  • Think Tram - we have completed more than 500 treatments (tram priority at traffic lights, installation of raised dividing strips, platform stops and turn bans etc) which have arrested the decline in tram speed despite increased traffic congestion.

Tram fleet upgrade

  • The entire tram fleet has been refurbished by Yarra Trams
  • The older fleet is being upgraded to provide more state of the art customer information - electronic destination boards have been installed on the A Class trams and will soon be fitted to the Z Class.

Special events partner
During the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Yarra Trams operated a special Commonwealth Games timetable for 15 days.  In that period:

  • More than 650,000 passengers were carried
  • Approximately 135,000 extra kilometres were travelled
  • Approximately 16,000 extra trips operated
  • Compared with the week immediately before the Games there were 4250 extra driving hours in week 1 and 7150 extra driving hours in week 2.

Yarra Trams also regularly provides additional tram services for special events such as concerts, AFL, rugby and soccer matches.

Proactive response to emergencies
On Friday 23 March 2007, a tragic accident occurred in the Burnley Tunnel which resulted in its closure.  Yarra Trams responded by providing more than 300 additional tram services during peak periods to relieve subsequent commuter pressure.

In February 2007, a number of train services were cancelled due to Siemens train braking problems.  Yarra Trams responded by providing up to 400 additional services during peak periods on a number of tram routes located near railway stations

Customer satisfaction
Yarra Trams rates consistently well above industry average:

  • Yarra Trams CSI (Jan-Mar '07) 69.5% compared with Metro Public Transport Overall CSI (Jan-Mar '07) 61.5%

Yarra Trams continues to modernise the tram network in Melbourne through innovations such as:

Now available  for all routes across the entire tram network, tramTRACKER uses the latest real-time technology to track the whereabouts of all our trams and lets you know when your tram is due to arrive at your stop - via a friendly voice on the phone or by SMS.

Passenger Information Displays (PIDs)
PIDs are installed at designated stops across the network and provide real-time information about the expected arrival time trams at that stop.  Some selected stops in the CBD also have audio buttons which provide real-time arrival information.

Fleet Operations Centre
At the commencement of Yarra Trams' franchise, we invested in the development of our state-of-the-art Fleet Operations Centre (FOC) located in South Melbourne. 

The FOC has a video wall fed by VicRoads traffic control cameras and an Automatic Vehicle Monitoring system.  

A special events room is used by Victoria Police and VicRoads as well as other external agencies to coordinate traffic and public transport for major events.

Green Depot
The Green Depotâ„¢ project is a major environmental initiative aimed at minimising the impact Yarra Trams has on the environment and to encourage staff to adopt sustainable practices at work and home.

Through the installation of rainwater tanks, waterless urinals and flow restrictors, our green depots at East Preston and Malvern are saving more than one million litres of water annually.  Water from the depot roof is used to wash trams and flush toilets.

Information Technology
First class Information Technology infrastructure with failover (redundancy and backup) capabilities and disaster recovery through geographically separated data centres.

Low floor trams
Yarra Trams introduced the first low floor trams (Citadis) to Melbourne in 2001, followed by the Combino in 2002. 

Supporting the community
In 2005, Yarra Trams joined the family of special donors supporting the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.  Yarra Trams made a commitment to the hospital to promote the appeal among the community, and designed one of its trams to feature photographs of young patients of the hospital with Yarra Trams staff. The tram operates all year round.

Yarra Trams is a founding partner of the Royal Children's Hospital Run for the Kids event, which was first held 2006.

Yarra Trams Authorised Officers have been actively involved in various community focused activities since transition which have been predominantly focusing on young migrants and youth groups, for example Kicking goals for Harmony, Public Transport Challenge cup, KFC Cup, WYPIN, along with lectures at secondary schools regarding Public Transport and Travel Safe.

In August this year, Yarra Trams launched a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra City Circle tram as part of a newly formed partnership with the MSO.

Yarra Trams recently launched a Yarra Trams/Go for your life Melbourne Romp City Circle tram as part of our partnership with the new event.

We also support numerous community festivals and events.

Yarra Trams has won the following awards:

  • John Truscott Design Award for Collins Street Platform Stop - 2002
  • Department of Human Services, Victorian Inclusion Award for commitment to addressing access issues for people with a disability so that they can experience easier tram travel - 2002
  • Landscape Industries Association of Victoria, Landscape of the Year Award for the Box Hill Tram Terminus - 2003
  • Transit Innovation Award Marketing for Melbourne All Over, Transdev - 2004
  • UITP Golden Angel Silver Award for best marketing campaign in Australasia, Melbourne All Over - 2005
  • UITP Golden Angel Silver Award for best marketing campaign in Australasia, Tram Awareness - 2006
  • Save Water Award for Green Depot East Preston - 2007
  • UITP Golden Angel Gold Award for best marketing campaign in Australasia, tramTRACKER -2007

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