Extending Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone
Submissions are now open for the Parliamentary Inquiry to Extend Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone and make public transport across the network free for students and seniors.
Submissions will close on Friday 20 December 2019
I brought this inquiry to the legislative council in June 2019 because I believe it is a step toward changing the way people choose to get around this great city of ours.
As our city grows beyond 5 million citizens it is time we break the culture of using cars to get everywhere in Melbourne, especially when accessing services and events in the centre of the city.
Making transport to our universities, hospitals, major attractions and sporting precincts free at all times would make our public transport network the obvious and best option for all who move around Melbourne.
Making it free for students will help us build a new mindset about public transport use from a young age and set good habits in place. Likewise, our seniors, who face increasingly high costs of living, should be rewarded for a lifetime of contribution to our communities. Free transport for them would encourage their ongoing and active participation in their communities and in the wider Melbourne community that may otherwise not happen due to financial constraints and distance. Anything that supports full-time students, their parents and our seniors is a good thing. Anything that reduces the reliance on cars through incentives to use free travel options is a no-brainer.
In June Rod presented a motion to the legislative council for an inquiry to extend the free tram zone in Melbourne to take in Melbourne University, the hospitals and major tourism destinations. He also asked the Economy and Infrastructure Committee to investigate making our public transport network free for students and senior citizens.
Frequently Asked Questions
But inner city trams are already crowded. Won’t extending the free tram zone make it worse?
Yes, inner city trams are crowded. The entire public transport network is overcrowded. The supply of suitable trains and trams and the frequency of these services needs to be reviewed across the network to meet current and future demand. But overcrowding is not a reason to discourage use of public transport – the city needs it and our environment needs it.
I believe in public transport and will do my best to find ways to get even more people to use it. We need to get out of the mindset that cars are the way we travel in big cities like Melbourne.
Students don’t pay the fares anyway.
For many low income students and families the cost of public transport isn’t an option. Yet they still need to get to school and university. Conflict with inspectors, unpaid fines and the resulting debt collection and credit damage can be avoided. Using public transport shouldn’t be stressful just because you can’t afford it.
Does this mean less money for public transport?
It means less money for the network operator Metro Trains. The cost of new trains, rail maintenance and network extensions are all met by the State Government.