Catch me, now you can

Monday 15 August 2011

Yarra Trams is making it easier for passengers to find their way by making "phantom routes" a thing of the past.

Mysterious route numbers such as 81, 121, 77 and 92 will be phased out to help passengers to get to their destination on the next available tram.

The so-called phantom routes do not appear on the network map or timetables. They are services that are necessary to get trams to and from depots or to reposition them on the network.

Rather than running these trams empty to their destination, they operate in-service to give passengers additional trips above and beyond existing timetabled services.

Customer research has found that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of tram passengers look at the route number first when deciding which tram to board.

With a mysterious number on display, many customers don't feel confident catching these services as there is no way of knowing the route they travel.

This route renumbering initiative will make catching these services much easier.  The new route identification format for these services will feature their parent route and the letter 'a' or 'd'.

This format means customers will know that the "phantom route" travels along a regular timetabled and mapped route but terminates short of the end of that route or detours for part of its journey.

The letter 'd' means the tram terminates at the 'depot.'

The letter 'a' means the service is 'altered' and is not running the full length of the route.

The message to customers is that if they see a letter after the route number, they should check the destination display to find out where the tram is going.

The main published routes (ie. all those on the tram network map) will not be affected by this change.

An initial pilot of these changes will start on Essendon Depot routes on 28 August 2011.

Examples of Essendon Depot phantom routes to be demystified include:

 •   "Phantom Route" 81 - Elizabeth St Terminus or Essendon Depot - becomes Route 59d, Essendon Depot.  The new number and letter combination means customers know the service will travel along Route 59 which is a published route, but terminates at Essendon Depot.
 •   "Phantom route" 84 to Maribyrnong River becomes 57a or 82a, Maribyrnong Park depending on which route it travels along.
 •   The "phantom route" 00 Friday short (Queen Victoria Market special) between City Road Sth Melbourne and Haymarket will become Route 55a, Haymarket.

The pilot is aimed at gathering feedback from customers and Yarra Trams staff.

Yarra Trams will launch a comprehensive customer information campaign to help passengers recognise the new simplified route identification system.  This campaign will target each route as the changes are introduced.

For more information on the location of tram depots visit the Metlink Journey Planner.