Victorian Bus Drivers Want Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone Killed For Some Godawful Reason

It turns out an organisation representing Victorian bus drivers is vehemently opposed to the expansion of Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone, and has called on lawmakers to scrap the measure altogether.

Is that a bold stance? Yes. Does it also suggest some kind of vicious, internecine rivalry between our beloved transport operators? Also yes.

Anyway, The Herald Sun reports Bus Association Victoria (BAV), which represents route and chartered bus drivers across the state, has responded to a parliamentary inquiry on the impact of the Free Tram Zone.

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They are not so hot on it. In a written submission, dated November 11, general manager Parry Serafim said the Free Tram Zone contributes to tram congestion, slows down scheduled services, and inadvertently promotes fare evasion for punters travelling outside of the zone.

He also said the Free Tram Zone is, effectively, a health risk, as it “Encourages people to ride a tram for a short trip, when they would be healthier if they walked, an increasing problem for our community.”

The Free Tram Zone, introduced in 2015, covers much of Melbourne’s Central Business District, allowing punters to travel around the joint without paying a Myki fare.

It has been celebrated by many folks across Melbourne, including cash-strapped university students, who have called on the State Government to expand the Free Tram Zone to campuses which currently lie outside its fare-free boundaries.

BAV has a strong take there, too:

The BAV does not support extending services to Melbourne University as students already have discount fares… People accessing services in this are are typically of a higher income bracket; and it establishes a behaviour pattern for users not to touch on for connecting/adjacent public transport services.


In addition to the potential expansion of the Free Tram Zone, the inquiry is also looking into free fares for all full-time students and “dynamic public transport pricing,” which sounds an awful lot like Uber’s surge-style system.

If you’d like to have your say, whether you agree with BAV or not, feel free to file your submission here before January 31, 2020.