Yarra Trams and Public Transport Victoria (PTV) have plans for the 96 tram route that have issues relating to traffic management, removal of trees and car parking, and impacts on local traders and residential amenity. These led Council and PTV to set up a Community Reference Group for Acland Street to explore alternative options.
It is not possible to ‘do nothing’ because the PTV has a legislated requirement to provide disable access to all tram stops in Melbourne and a policy commitment to make Route 96 the first fully accessible route in Melbourne. The government has bought new ‘E-class’ trams for the 96 route. These carry more passengers but are only slightly bigger (1.5m) than the current Bumblebee trams. How can the improved public transport system be made compatible with the many and varied uses of Acland Street, an important but narrow thoroughfare?
A fundamental constraint is that PTV must agree to any proposals for the 96 route. The PTV through the Minister for Roads is the decision-maker, not the Port Phillip Council.
This means there must be an interchange between bus and trams services at Barkly and Acland Streets that does not reduce the current level of service. PTV will not agree to a terminus at Luna Park that would make Acland St ‘trams-free’ and cut the link with the Barkly St buses.
Discussions through the Community Reference Group have led the PTV to significantly change their original proposals. Originally PTV had a ‘non-negotiable’ requirement that cars could not share or cross the tram tracks along Acland Street. This had three options that are no longer on the agenda. Instead there is Option 4, which both Council and PTV support. There are also alternative Options 5 to 6 which could satisfy PTV’s requirements.
Options that may be available (click to view):