This story on Thursday about tram passenger Caitlin Morrison being attacked on a tram was very alarming. Everybody has a right to be safe on public transport.
What made it even worse was that there was no CCTV to provide evidence of the incident to help identify the culprit.
The tram in question was a Z class, on route 57.
I was surprised to hear that only C2 and newer trams have CCTV. I think I assumed it was far more commonplace, if not ubiquitous.
Looking at the Yarra Trams page summarising their fleet, we can see how many trams there are, and also see which have air conditioning and low floors. I’ve added the info on CCTV.
|Model||Years built||Number||Air con||Low floor||CCTV|
|Total||excluding heritage (W)||513||64.3%||39.0%||32.0%|
Despite the official info that B class trams don’t have CCTV, I notice at least some have what appears to be a CCTV camera mounted next to the driver’s cab. Perhaps it’s not fitted to all of them and/or has limited coverage – despite a refurbishment not too long ago.
While many trams are lacking air con, low floors, and CCTV, 100% of the Metro train fleet has air-conditioning, and even the oldest Comeng trains from the 1980s have had CCTV retro-fitted for about 20 years.
There are 100 E class trams that have all these key features, from what I understand, they’re generally proving overall to be a pretty good design.
But it took 11 years to get 100 trams, from their announcement in 2010 to the last deliveries in 2021.
At that rate, phasing out just the non-airconditioned trams (Z and A class) would take another 20 years. And it would take another 10+ years to also phase out the B class and get to all low-floor trams. And even longer to also get to 100% of the fleet having CCTV.
The current commitment of 100 next generation trams will just about replace the Z class, but still leave around 200 without low-floor access or CCTV.
Melbourne’s tram network may be an icon of the city, but it’s severely lacking in modern features on the vehicles, as well as other upgrades such as traffic light priority to improve speed and network efficiency.
And let’s not even talk about platform stops. The progress on those is incredibly slow, despite DDA deadlines.
Caitlin Morrison’s case has brought some attention to the issue of CCTV. What will it take to get government to accelerate upgrades to provide a safer, modern, fully accessible tram network?