How many tram routes have low-floor trams?

Platform stop with high floor tramBy my count… (please flag in the comments if I mess it up)

Most trams on routes: 96, 109

Some on routes: 5, 6, 8, 16, 48, 72, 112

None on routes: 1, 3/3a, 19, 30, 35, 55, 57, 59, 64, 67, 70, 75, 78/79, 82, 86, City Circle

Some (minor routes) 24, 42

Some (minor routes not counted on Metlink site) 11, 31, 95

Total 30 routes; 16 have none

(There are always exceptions to these rules of course. Sometimes trams get moved around and put on different routes.)

Together with a lack of platform stops and alternative services (eg buses and trains), this leaves large areas of Melbourne inaccessible to those who need level boarding.

In some cases, quite a few platform stops have been built on routes where no low-floor trams stop (eg routes 59, 64, 86).

And as I noted the other day, none of the tram routes that serve the hospitals precinct (19, 55, 59) have low-floor trams, though there are some platform stops in the area (particularly along routes 55 and 59), and more being built. Hopefully eventually they’ll get trams that can make full use of them.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

16 replies on “How many tram routes have low-floor trams?”

I’m always amused by the 86/96 thing. The 86 has heaps of platform stops from the city through to Northcote (pretty much everywhere apart from the Nicholoson St to Smith St (inclusive) stretch – with more to come in Thornbury and Preston – but no low-floor trams; while the 96 has none on the north side of the route (once you leave the city) but practically 100% low-floor trams


I would be amused, except that the level of idiotic disconnect between planning which routes get stops and which routes get trams means that many people who would be advantaged by having accessible trams don’t. That makes it far less amusing and far more aggravating.

This one example pretty much sums up what is wrong with public transport planning in the state. There are too many people in charge and none of them seem to talk to each other.

couldn’t agree more with the previous two comments … I travel from the terminus on the 96 and it still amazes me that with the lengthening of the trams there hasn’t been a corresponding lengthening of the tram stops (never mind upgrading them to a proper platform) … this means that on the longer Combino and the BumbleBee trams passengers alighting from the rear doors have to contend with negotiating the car-flipping concrete safety barrier … which is difficult even for nimble folk. I can’t see that this change would be anything more than moving the barrier back around 5m, installing some more pedestrian banners and changing some lane markings …

also, don’t the 96 and 86 pass close enough to the hospital precinct to sort of count in that regard? opposite problem in that there are mostly low-floor trams but no platform stop on Nicholson St …

@darkdirk, Julian: The other way of looking at it is that they’ve been trying to reach their targets for platform stops (via building them in the spots where they can most easily do so, such as in the median along St Kilda Road south of the junction, and Mt Alexander Road), and their targets for accessible trams, without consideration to how these two elements fit together.

There is a plan for the northern end of route 96. From memory you can expect action on this before too long.

@Malcolm, no, of the 86 and 96, the 96 is closest to the hospital precinct, and this is about 1.5 km away. The Swanston St trams are closer; about 600 metres (and do have some low-floor trams and platform stops). To clarify, the Hospital Precinct is the area around Royal Pde and Flemington Road, where the Royal Melbourne, the Children’s and Women’s hospitals are all located.


I realise this is what they’re trying to achieve, but unfortunately separating the goals of providing accessible tram stops and providing accessible rolling stock simply means neither goal is actually achieved.

The fact that the Discrimination Act required them to upgrade stops and trams without considering each other was an oversight of those drafting the act, however those at the DOT, Yarra Trams and whoever else is responsible should be acting on the spirit of the law and not the letter. Synchronising the two goals as much as possible is both morally right and plain sensible.

The 86 (and other) platform stops are not a complete waste of time though. It would be safe to assume that eventually with new low floor trams being introduced that some of these other routes may well see them and have instant access rather than having people complain that low floor trams have been introduced on routes without suitable stops.
The other side of the coin is that it reduces the number of steps into the high floor trams. As an 86 user with children in a stroller, I find it much easier to lift the stroller into the tram by myself from a platform stop than from a street level stop. The distance removed may be relatively small, but it makes all the difference to using the tram with a stroller.

The 57 does get low floor trams, but only when certain events are on at the Melbourne Showgrounds or the Flemington Racecourse and never for normal commuters… And these usually terminate at the Showgrounds or Racecourse.

It also bugs me that they always seem to have the rolling stock available for this line during these events, where is this stock at all other times?

@Michael, that’s true. Even for people without a stroller, the platforms with high floor trams speed up boarding.

@Mike, great effort! This really shows where there are large numbers of stops along routes 86, 59 and 75, none of which have low-floor trams.

@jarks, I believe the terminus of route 57 can’t fit anything bigger than a Z-class, which would be one reason you don’t see low-floor trams (which tend to be longer) most of the time. During special events they often move larger capacity trams onto the relevant routes, leaving routes that normally have them with smaller ones.

Yes, I fully agree that it seems pretty crazy now, but this is one of those times when forward planning should actually be applauded a little bit.

Whenever we get low-floor trams system wide (even if it is 2070) these routes will be ready.

Can’t have our cake and eat it too, as they say, although why else would you bake the cake? :)

The amusing thing is that while they can boast there is low floor access to the vast majority of public transport over so much of the metropolitan area, half the time on bus routes that zig zag around back streets with about 4 people on them, so many densely populated inner suburbs with heavy tram patronage have no accessible transport at all.

They need to install more platforms because eventually the low floor trams will replace all the other trams. The buses in Sydney (not sure about Melb because I never catch buses in Melb) have hydrolics and if a customer who is in a wheelchair boards at the front door the driver will tilt the bus to the curb and can lower an automatic ramp. Perhaps trams with something similar could be made but it would seem dangerous having a wheelchair go into the street off a ramp like that because on the bus in Sydney they are going onto the footpath… Probably the best option is to build more platforms and phase out the non-low floor trams.

Overseas I have seen this configuration:

parked cars – tram – traffic – road centre – traffic – tram – parked cars

The platforms for the trams were just where parking spaces had been removed to widen the footpath to the edge of the tram tracks. If road size allows this seems like the best option…

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