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The bright future of Melbourne’s trams

ByJamil Allouche

Do you like your local bus? Would you call it world class? Alexa Delbosc, public transport lecturer at Monash University states that "Australia's public transport is better than Australians think," and that we simply may not realise it because it's so ingrained in our daily lives. After all, the way you use trains at home is very different to when you're on holiday. 

If you need any more convincing, let's take a look at Melbourne specifically – a city that boasts the largest tram network in the world. Rather than resting on this rather significant laurel, the Victorian Government has committed some $1.1billion to refreshing the trams over the next few years, highlighting the value of living in a capital with a focus in infrastructure.. Here are three of the most important developments. 

A significant portion of the upgrades to the network are being directed towards greater accessibility.

1. Greater accessibility

While we all enjoy a fast, reliable public transport system, that certainly doesn't mean that we all have the same ability to use it. For the less mobile, catching the tram can be a bit of a challenge, which is why a significant portion of the upgrades to the network are being directed towards greater accessibility. The main aspect of this project is 'level access stops' which allow passengers to simply hop aboard without having to navigate a pesky step, which for some might as well be Mt Everest. 

In addition to being easier to access, these new stops are also safe, and provide a raised platform where it's possible to wait for your ride without having to stand in a potentially dangerous position on the road. So far, roughly 400 stops have been upgraded, but that number is sure to rise over the next few years, meaning that almost everywhere you buy property in the area, you'll be close to a modernised stop.

Melbourne's tram network is the largest in the world.

2. Route 96

Of more specific interest to those who live in Brunswick, is the massive upgrade to Tram Route 96. This is one of the most heavily used segments of the network, connecting East Brunswick to St Kilda via a route that goes directly through the CBD. If you live in the area, chances are you've probably been on it at some stage. You should be delighted then, to hear that the 14kilometre track will be receiving funding to the tune of $72million, in order to become the city's very first, fully accessible route, with new terminus stops at each end. 

Aside from the safety and accessibility upgrades, the hope is that a better service will result in less people on the roads. Reduced congestion is something that everybody can get behind, so do your part and check out route 96 next time you're heading into town. 

The tram line wouldn't be truly representative of our great city if it didn't have a snazzy dash of style.

3. W-class trams

Of course, the project isn't just about adding functionality to the network. As with all things Melbourne, the tram line wouldn't be truly representative of our great city if it didn't have a snazzy dash of style. This is provided in ample measure by the new and freshly refurbished W-Class trams. These historic icons of Melbourne's past have been modernised to suit the contemporary network, but retain a certain sense of panache that you won't get anywhere else. With their signature green and gold livery, the W-Class trams are Melbourne to a T. 

These are just a few of the major investments being made in Melbourne's public transport network. With many of them helping to better connect the Brunswick region to the rest of the city, this is great news for everybody who lives or owns property in the area.

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