Improving Melbourne’s public transport system is essential for reducing congestion, encouraging tourism and improving our economy. We encourage strategies that will improve our public transport system and provide young, elderly and vulnerable Victorians of with easier access to our hospitals, universities and sporting precincts.
Since COVID-19 we have seen a stark transformation of our once vibrant and bustling CBD. Extending the Free Tram Zone will encourage locals and tourists alike to explore the area and support our CBD economy.
We believe that extending the Free Tram Zone will:
- Boost the local economy;
- Improve access to education;
- Enable the sick and vulnerable sufficient access to our hospitals and health services;
- Reducing congestion in the CBD;
- Increase tourism;
- Encourage public transport usage;
- Reduce air pollution and noise pollution;
- Changing the cultural persecution of public transport;
- Encourage the much-needed expansion of the tram fleet.
Extending the zone is needed to make public transport the best way to travel in and around the CBD. Every step towards encouraging public transport use is a step towards addressing global warming, oil depletion, forced car ownership and air pollution.
Free Tram Zone Inquiry
I began an inquiry into extending the Free Tram Zone. The extension I proposed would see the following facilitates included:
- Royal Children’s Hospital
- Shrine of Remembrance
- The National Gallery Victoria
- The Alfred Hospital
- Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
- The Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Melbourne & Olympic Park
- RMIT University
- University of Melbourne
- Multiple businesses.
The Inquiry into Extending the FTZ recommended extending the Free Tram Zone in only two places. One stop to the ‘Arts Precinct St Kilda Road’ stop and one stop to the ‘Casino/MCEC’ stop.
I believe the reasons behind these recommendations can just as easily be applied to all the proposed extensions.
“This Inquiry was a missed opportunity that does not reflect Melbourne’s growth and the opportunity to encourage the use of more public transport… Reading the committee’s report, it is my view that we did not listen enough to students, businesses, tourism, seniors, local residents or the vulnerable.”
The Example of Estonia
In 2013, Tallin, Estonia became the world’s first capital city to offer residents free public transport.
The Head of Public Relations of Estonia’s economic affairs and communications ministry, Ramus Ruuda, stated in an interview with euro news that the benefits are:
- Improving the health of the elderly by getting them more activity;
- Changing the mindset of people, especially those of regional communities;
- Increase in passengers (Since 2018-2019 an additional 2 million rides were taken);
- A survey showed a decrease in car usage from 46% in 2018 to 38% in 2019;
- Increased reliance by young people.
Overall, it appears that the people of Estonia and Luxembourg say free public transport is worth it.