Extending the free tram zone to include Melbourne’s inner city hospitals, universities, sport and arts precincts came a step closer today with a motion from Transport Matters Party leader Rod Barton passed in the Legislative Council.
The Economy and Infrastructure committee will also consider making public transport free for full time students, senior citizens and investigate new technology to improve the efficiency and pricing structure across the network.
“Making tram transport to our universities, hospitals, major attractions and sporting precincts free at all times makes this network the obvious and best option for all who move around Melbourne,” said Mr Barton.
“I ask for this investigation because I believe it is a step toward changing the way people choose to get around this great city of ours.”
Melbourne is still a car-centric city and the free tram zone, free transport for students and seniors, technology that improves efficiency and dynamic pricing systems that help spread demand across the day all have a part to play in creating a cultural shift toward public transport.
Expansion of the free tram zone in the areas outlined in Mr Barton’s motion will take in seven major hospitals that are otherwise currently excluded including the Royal Children’s hospital and the Alfred Hospital. It also brings Melbourne University into the free tram zone.
Major destinations such as the Zoo, the Shrine of Remembrance, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Alexandra Gardens and the Fitzroy Gardens will be better accessed along with the Art Centre precinct and the National Gallery of Victoria.
“We want to encourage visitors to these areas. We want to encourage locals into these areas. It makes sense to encourage tram travel to these major destinations and encourage everyone to enjoy all that Melbourne has to offer,” he said.
Mr Barton said congestion was a growing problem in Melbourne and recent reports ranked our city as the most congested in Australia.
“We need to find ways to make sure public transport is the best option, the first option. Bringing your car into the CBD will not be the best option if our inner city tram network is free.”
Read Rod’s full speech to the motion in Parliament here
Listen to Rod speaking to Neil Mitchell on 3AW this morning