Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yarra Trams is a tram operating company in Melbourne, Australia. It is owned by the French companies Transdev and ALSTOM. Yarra Trams commenced operations in 1999, initially operating less than one half of the network.
Surveys conducted during 2000 indicated that Yarra Trams' passengers were concerned with, among other things, crowding, service reliabiliy and the replacement of tram conductors with ticket vending machines. Yarra Trams' response was to announce it would soon start painting its trams Battleship Grey .
During 2003, Yarra Trams began a program to remove over a third of the seats from its B-class trams , with 28 out of 74 seats removed from Tram 2015, still missing to this day. A community campaign began to fight this move, led by the Public Transport Users Association, which Yarra Trams soon threatened to sue.
The move was intended to create space for more standing passengers and alleviate the need to run more services, and provide space for wheelchairs (though with no apparent means of allowing wheelchairs to climb the three steps to board the tram). They attempted to scale down the seat removals when Tram 2018 was modified shortly afterwards, though despite a few attempts to resurrect the program, Yarra Trams appears to have given up.
On 18 April 2004, Yarra Trams was given control of the entire Melbourne tram network, following year-long negotiations over increased taxpayer subsidies and reduced commercial risks. Approximately 100 staff were made redundant at or around this time. There was no competitive tender for the refranchising, and it has been alleged that the new subsidy is so high that the system could be renationalised and would cost the same to run as a Government operation, resulting in no financial benefit to taxpayers over direct operation of the system.
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