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(AUS)Phantom trams to vanish, but still take passengers

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From The Age:

Phantom trams to vanish, but still take passengers

Clay Lucas

August 15, 2011


YARRA Trams calls them its phantom routes for a reason: they're a mystery to all but the most seasoned traveller.


Every week 2500 trams, about 8 per cent of services, run around the city without appearing on the timetable.


These so-called ''phantom services'' run to move trams between depots, or reposition them on the network.


And they do not appear on timetables or maps because technically, for passengers, they don't exist.


To indicate they do not go all the way along the route, they run with numbers - for instance 81, 121, 77 or 92 - that don't appear on the network map or timetables.


Yet rather than run empty, the trams still pick up passengers.


But with a mysterious number on display, many don't get on board.


Now, to reduce confusion and help passengers take advantage of phantom trams, the operator and the Department of Transport have moved to phase out the mysterious route numbers. A trial of new route numbers will show their parent route, and the letter ''a'' or ''d''.


An ''a'' will mean the tram will run along its regular mapped route but will stop before the end of the route. A ''d'' will mean the tram will terminate at the depot.


The Rail, Tram and Bus Union's tram division head, Phil Altieri, said staff had not yet agreed to the trial because of driver concerns it would confuse many passengers.


''If you talk to regular users of particular places around Melbourne, people understand exactly what's what,'' Mr Altieri said.


''In trying to make it easier for people who don't travel so often, you're confusing the people who do.''


A driver also said that the phantom trams were ''usually useless, because they run directly behind a normal service tram, meaning they are empty or only carrying a couple of people''.


The trial of the renumbering system will begin at the end of August on services from the Essendon depot.




There might be number for a short route doesn't mean it gets used. More often than not I see MCG bound trams just have MCG via Melbourne Park on it's own with out the route number. Heading back into town for some strange reason it has the route listed(Which is 121)

There is a list of all the numbers and workings but I can't find it at the moment.


Going to be intresting to see how they handle the B2 trams. The desto controller doesn't have letters. Perhaps they will just replace with with LED ones.

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