What do you think of the Easy Access tram stop in Macarthur Street?

This is the new “Easy Access” tram stop in Macarthur Street.

It’s not the first of its type — there’s been one in Albert Park for some years. But it’s the first on a moderately busy street, and it’s claimed it could be the new model for providing accessible tram stops around Melbourne.

I think it’s got some advantages over platform stops, eg cost, and the layout is more suited to narrow roads — which may help accelerate the roll-out of badly-needed accessible tram stops, which benefit everybody, not just those with mobility difficulties, heavy luggage and parents with prams, through faster boarding.

But I also see a problem in that motorists who ignorantly or wilfully fail to stop for tram passengers still present a danger.

What do you think?

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.

14 replies on “What do you think of the Easy Access tram stop in Macarthur Street?”

At least it’s fairly easy for cars to recognise its a tram stop and they can clearly see the tram. Too many times I have been, or have seen others, nearly run over by cars not stopping for trams at roadside tram stops. Toorak Road is particularly bad for this, I’ve seen pedestrians have to jump out of the way of a car that ploughed through them as they crossed to the tram outside South Yarra station, I was one of them!

Yep, pretty good. I use this stop sometimes.
The one bad thing is that, to many motorists, it LOOKS a lot like a tram safety zone (where cars do not have to stop for trams). I think this is because of the verticle white posts. I’m not sure what to do about this.
PS Is the electronic display showing next tram arrival working yet? If not, then it’s not been working since 1 Nov (4 months ago)

I’ve always thought that tram stops should have traffic lights at each end, that go to red automatically while there’s a tram at the stop. Of course some drivers ignore pedestrian lights too (ever tried crossing St Kilda Rd outside the arts centre? it’s like those lights just don’t exist for some drivers) but I think it makes it a lot more likely they’ll stop than having to notice the tram and realise the doors are opening.

What about if the section of the road between the stop and the tram were painted like a zebra crossing – perhaps a different color to white if that helps? It’s basically the same rules for drivers – stop for pedestrians if they are crossing – and may act as a mnemonic device to the drivers, as well as highlighting the fact that the stop is there.

Riding my bike in that direction in late morning peak, arriving ahead of a tram, confronted by about 20 pax walking out in front of me before the tram was even in the stop.

Naturally I slowed down, avoided hitting anyone and suggested that they wait until the tram arrives next time.

A elderly ped died after being hit near there doing just that recently when they stepped out in front of a bike going down the hill (other direction to the video). The fact that the bike rider was legally in the right does not excuse bad road design.

Separation of different weight/speed is the only way to provide safety and this design doesn’t do that. Knowing that a tram is about to overtake you provides a big incentive to a vehicle to maintain speed through the stop to avoid having to wait (that’s human nature in our impatient world). The same human nature causes the pax to step out before the tram arrives (competition for the seats maybe?). These two behaviours are on a collision course.

There is already a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights at this location, if the stops in each direction were located at the exit of these lights, and the lights were controlled by the tram so as to go red behind the tram, then there would be much less danger to pedestrians. The lights could be held to green even when the demand button is pressed, if a tram is approaching, then go red as the tram crosses – allowing pax to get to the tram without holding it up. Now that would be “smart roads”.

I travel by PT in Melbourne a lot but rarely drive there. I find the rules about where you have to stop for trams to be obscure and confusing. More variations don’t help.

The idea about painting the road like a big zebra crossing is a good one. Just don’t use the stupid slippery paint that bicycles crash on when it rains.

I use this stop most days. I think the tram access points, currently painted with a big ‘keep clear’, would benefit from the red surface sometimes used for stops or special lanes. The Keep Clear isn’t well observed. It would also assist cyclists to realise the stop is there; I’ve seen a few nearly clean up pedestrians stepping out to the tram. Actually most tram stops would benefit from the red paint on the road.

While I agree with some of Nik’s sentiment, we also need to predict the behaviour of road users and sometimes slow down and share a bit. Tram stop users stepping out as the tram is gliding into the stop is an expected thing, so just stop and wait. It’s the city, not a bikeway.

I’ve had the odd car not stop as a tram opens its doors at this stop but that is expected at most ‘on road’ stops. Not sure how to fix that short of some sort of boom gate with spikes folding out the back of a tram as the doors open.

The level boarding is great – even as an able-bodied person I really appreciate it.

Jon, I think the ped lights are timed into if a tram is present – they seem to hold green longer if a tram is in the stop, then go red right after it’s departed. I haven’t timed it or anything though.

I went through there yesterday in a tram. I first encountered this type of stop at Docklands. It seemed weird but I liked it. Motorists need to take responsibility instead of tram passengers being quarantined and inconvenienced.

I’m glad Dave expressed the above. Human nature seems to me just a bad excuse for road users to abrogate responsibility for paying attention on the roads. When I say road users I also mean cyclists and pedestrians not just car drivers.

While it is the rule that pedestrians shouldn’t step onto the road unless a tram has stopped, surely drivers and cyclists know there will be pedestrians around a tram stop and if there’s a tram nearly at a stop they should be preparing to stop and give way in any case.

As a cyclist I slow down at tram stops if there’s a tram anywhere near because I’ve nearly been knocked over as I’ve stepped off the tram a few times. I’d feel pretty bad as a cyclist if my ‘human nature’ caused me to kill someone so I could get to work 30 seconds earlier.

Lights may not be a bad idea though and I do like the idea of tram stops (and bike lanes) being somehow more clearly delineated.

I use or mass it most days and my observation is its location is highly counter productive.


Its location in proportion to the crossing lights, the tram must stop before the train station pedestrian lights, then again at this stop, then again at spring street.

The city bound platform should never have been place where it is, but separated and placed on the other-side of the Pedestrian traffic crossing as to avoid the unnecessary stopping of the tram at lights
and EXTRA DELAY for trams.

I think St Andrews Place probably prevented the city bound platform from being before the lights.
The city bound stop is a bit further past the lights than it looks – the shelter is misleading and that too adds delay as people walk south from the shelter down to where the tram has actually stopped. Not sure why the shelter is so far back – maybe something to do with site rights /easements etc. It all means the city bound stop there is only about 100m from the Collins St / Spring stop, which seems inefficient. However, they do seem to serve different crowds – the city group, and those joining/leaving for parliament station. Also, the intersection is a pain to get across on foot – there’s no ped crossings on some sides – so the stop proximity is probably just one of those necessary evils.

Not only that, some drivers deliberately speed up when they see pedestrians just for shits and giggles. Should have pop-up caltrops for that purpose.

Can’t believe they will have the Collins St stop closed during the comedy festival, that will stuff them up like when they did the Flinders/Swanston junction a few years back.

The flat access is very neat. Very much like the model used in Adelaide when they extended and updated our toy tram a few years ago. Can’t say anything about the placement or road furniture but I can say that all the tram stops that share roads in the Adelaide CBD have been placed near/at intersections controlled by traffic lights. (Doesn’t stop passengers from jaywalking to and from the trams, but it gives motorists and cyclists reasonable warning of impending mayhem.)

Hmm, had a car drive through as I was getting off the tram today…. driver didn’t ding, beep, nothing.

Hard to see how this kind of illegal behaviour can be modified if oblivious (as this one was) motorists aren’t at least alerted to it somehow, or it’s otherwise enforced…

I asked Yarra Trams if Tram Cam (or whatever) has been discontinued and they said it has. I don’t understand why – cyclists and drivers are now using dash / helmet cams to show illegal behaviour and where the evidence warrants, police are issuing traffic infringement notices.

All a tram driver would need to do is push a button or otherwise note the time to create a quick reference on the digital video; the couple of incidents a day could be quickly reviewed and referred to police if necessary.

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