Melbourne’s Tram Strike Threw The City Into Chaos, Trains To Follow Suit

Eerie scenes right across Melbourne today, with the city’s iconic tram network evacuating the tracks during a four hour strike this afternoon.

The planned industrial action – caused by long stalled negotiations over pay and working conditions – saw trams returns to depots between the hours of 10am and 2pm, with the network still struggling to return to normality following the resumption of services.
To say Melbourne’s streets without trams was an odd sight to behold is something of an understatement.

The tram-reliant areas of the city like St Kilda, Fitzroy, Carlton, and Brunswick East felt the hardest pinch of the shutdown.

Making matters far worse than they normally would’ve been was this guy.
A large band of slow-moving rain that’s been dumping consistent rainfall on the city and suburbs from the early morning right through till the time of writing.
Alternative transport options were sparse – Yarra’s replacement busses were largely unused. Sydney Rd reportedly became a traffic nightmare. And taxis experienced one of their busiest days of the year, whilst UberX surge pricing was in effect for most of the day, with multipliers reportedly rising as high as 2.7x the normal fare.
Yarra Trams issued a statement about the strike a short time ago.
“Yarra Trams would like to thank its customers for their patience during today’s industrial action.

Trams are returning to the network and our focus is on ensuring safety during this time.

We expect to have trams operating to normal frequencies between 4pm and 5pm.

We also thank our employees who were on the network today, many of whom were volunteers from other parts of the business.

We share our passengers’ frustration about this unnecessary industrial action; we did everything we could to keep passengers informed and keep Melbourne moving.”

Though things are indeed slowly starting to return to normal function (the 96, for example, is currently running at its usual 6 minute intervals north of the city in both directions, according to TramTracker) that peaceful norm won’t last for very long.
Metro Trains announced their intentions to follow suit next Friday, launching a similar four hour strike – from 10am until 2pm – under the Protected Industrial Action conditions granted to them by Fair Work. This move was announced after Metro bosses threatened to punish any worker than undertook the Protected Strike action.
Really, the whole situation is pretty well summed up by one (albeit fake) image.

Photos: Robert Cianflone via Getty Images.