Is this happening because of not enough trams, not enough 30 metre trams (= greater capacity) or not replacing 15 metre trams with 30 metre trams on a one for one basis?
Tony P ---InTramsDownUnder@..., <rodsmith@...> wrote : April 4 2017 Tram services slashed despite runaway passenger growth . Tram services will be slashed on some of Melbourne's busiest routes next month, leading to longer wait times and increased crowding. Tram frequency will be reduced on six of Melbourne's busiest tram routes when the timetable changes on May 1. Public transport advocates and the Opposition have slammed the move by the Andrews government. There has been an increase in the number of serious injuries on Melbourne's trams. Photo: Joe Armao . The government has issued no public warning about the looming cuts, which will hit night-time services hardest, but also includes the loss of some services in the morning peak. A press release issued by Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan on March 28 claimed there would be "no reduction in services to Brunswick and Coburg", but The Age can reveal routes to those rapidly growing northern suburbs do face cuts. Routes that face a looming cut include 96, 86, 19, 59, 11 and 67, some of which are among the most heavily used tram lines in Melbourne. Cuts due to take effect on May 1 include: .Scrapping three weekday city-bound peak hour services between 8am and 9am on route 96 from East Brunswick. Morning peak passenger loads grew by 26 per cent on route 96 last year, which was the first to be allocated high-capacity E-Class trams. .Cutting four Friday night services on route 19 from the city to Coburg North, reducing it from a line with a tram every 10 minutes until 9pm, to one with a tram every 10 minutes until just after 8pm, when it will revert to a 20-minute frequency. Two Sunday night services have also been cut. .Friday night cuts to route 86 between Docklands and Bundoora, from every 15 minutes until 11pm, to a 20-minute wait between trams from about 9.30pm. .The last route 67 tram of the night from Melbourne University to Carnegie has been cut on Sundays. .One route 59 Sunday night service from the city to Airport West has been cut. The Age's list of cuts is not comprehensive, and the May 1 timetable change could contain more cuts yet to be revealed. The cuts have been made in a time of runaway growth in tram usage. Passenger numbers soared 12 per cent last year to 203.8 million journeys, surprising even the state's public transport planners. Public Transport Victoria noted in its latest annual report that "strong population growth is likely to be driving tram patronage growth". "Since 2012 over a third of building approvals for new dwellings have been nearby tram routes," PTV said. Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said the government was cutting services on routes that often suffer overcrowding at night. "Nobody wins from these changes," he said. "Passengers will find not just a longer wait for a tram, but far worse overcrowding. And if people give up on the trams and drive instead, it will just add to traffic congestion." Mr Bowen said the reduction was mystifying, given there is no shortage of trams outside of peak-hour. "The government and Yarra Trams need to explain why these changes are being made," he said. Opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett called on the government to reveal exactly how many trips it has removed from the timetable. "Cutting the number of tram trips is Labor's admission that Yarra Trams has insufficient tram drivers," Mr Hodgett said. "Jacinta Allan can sleep in her chauffeured limousine on the way home from the Hanging Rock Bruce Springsteen concert, but many Melburnians rely on sufficient peak-hour or late-night trams to get them home after a day's work or a night out partying or attending theatres." The Andrews government and Public Transport Victoria were contacted for comment but did not explain the service cuts in the May 1 timetable. "Like all timetable changes, we will monitor how passengers are using the new services and make further adjustments if necessary," Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said. <www.theage.com.au/victoria/tram-services-slashed-despite-runaway-passenger- growth-20170404-gvdeuu.html?platform=hootsuite> April 6 2017 The timing of the cuts to tram services is awfully suspicious . It was all self-congratulation in a government press release last week praising timetable changes that would "increase services and reduce crowding" on Melbourne's trams. Well, that was last week and a week is a long time in politics. This week the story broke that tram services will be slashed on some of Melbourne's busiest routes. Fewer services and more crowding is the reality from the operator locked in secret negotiations with the government for a new contract to run Melbourne's trams. The 96 tram: among those suffering service cuts. Photo: Supplied . In a stroke of legal genius, the current contract of Yarra Trams gives it the exclusive right to negotiate with the government behind closed doors for a seven-year franchise agreement. It certainly makes the bidding process easier when you are not facing competition. Secret negotiations are just the start of this clandestine operation. Yarra Trams received $2.2 million in "incentive payments" on top of the $2.2 billion the government has paid for the group to operate Melbourne's trams. How those incentive payments are calculated is shrouded in mystery, with three of the five contractually agreed criteria kept secret. What we do know is that key performance data used in the incentive formula is largely self-reported by Yarra Trams. The Victorian Auditor General put it this way: "PTV relies solely on Yarra Trams to assure the ongoing integrity of the system and the data it produces. This means that PTV is publicly reporting performance results and determining bonus and penalty payments with only limited assurance about the reliability of the performance data that underpins these results." That's right - the contractor is responsible for the quality of the information that determines what bonus it will get. After I raised these issues in Parliament and called for an expert panel to investigate this model I received a letter from the Minister for Public Transport saying "it is not appropriate" to appoint an expert panel. I was assured, however, that "the government is requiring significantly stronger standards, particularly in the areas of performance". As a statement, "better performance" sounds great. How that will be achieved could be at the heart of the announced service slashes. A cynical mind would say Yarra Trams is setting a low bar with these timetable changes that could be miraculously revised to increase performance once the new contract is in place. If that is the negotiation tactic, it means the public is being held hostage so Yarra Trams can get what it wants. With services already stretched, prices increasing and passenger numbers continuing to grow the public is not getting value for money. That is exactly why we need an independent panel to investigate how we can return to high quality services that are affordable for government and the public. Until then, the continued secrecy puts all the power in the hands of Yarra Trams. Fiona Patten is the Leader of the Australian Sex Party and Member for the Northern Metropolitan Region in the Victorian Parliament. <www.theage.com.au/comment/the-timing-of-the-cuts-to-tram-services-is-awfull y-suspicious-20170405-gvefgi>