Melbourne Transport System

Posted: September 9th, 2013





Melbourne Transport System


According to international standards, the Melbourne transport system is considered one of the most challenged in the world. Though it has the largest tram network in the world, the overall transport system is slowly disintegrating. The numerous problems facing the transport system include cancellations of train schedules at stations, augmentation of ticket fares, poor planning and laxity on the part of the government, congestion on the roads, security issues and long waits at stations. These problems require immediate intervention by the government to improve the transport system in the city.

The system can be improved if blame games between the government and the private sector stopped. The government also needs to be strict in its regulations about transport quality within Melbourne and its surroundings. The ticket fares need to be regulated and effectively controlled. Ticket inspectors need to be punished and disciplined for their lack of manners and respect for passengers. More people should start using buses to travel instead of cars so that traffic congestion reduces. Transport ministry should impose harsh laws on quality of trains and trams being used to avoid inconveniences.


The Melbourne transport system is one of the oldest transport systems in the world. Transport in Melbourne consists of widespread networks and a broad assortment of transport services such as tram, bus, railway services, freeway network, just but to name a few. Melbourne’s tram network is considered the largest in the world given by its integration into the train and bus networks. There are nearly 300 bus routes and a 16-line train system servicing Melbourne and its surrounding areas. Melbourne’s Western Central Business District is where all railway networks link. The main mode of transport in Melbourne is train transport. It is resourceful, economical and extensive.

As much as it helps Australians, there are issues attached to the transport system that need to be addressed. The Melbourne transport system has been facing a number of challenges from train cancellations, increase of ticket fares, harassments, poor planning, traffic congestion, security, waits, etc. Given by the issues surrounding the transport system; most people are opting to use private means to travel to avoid the hustle that comes with using the city’s transport system. The data for this report was obtained from books and articles about the transport system in Melbourne.


An estimated 7 percent of all trips inside the metropolitan area in Melbourne are done by the public transport system. Most of the inhabitants of Melbourne city are dissatisfied with the transport system services and would like to see some changes and improvements. Train cancellations have become a common occurrence in the city, and this displays the perceived meltdown of the transport system. The recent fare increase has also contributed to the rising discontent of passengers. According to international standards, Melbourne compares poorly in terms of investing in the transport system. The issues have led to a large number of passengers opting to use private means to get to their destinations.



Train cancellations in the city have been frustrating commuters, and the justifications for this phenomenon are far-fetched. According to the chief executive of Connex, Jonathan Metcalfe, the cancellations have been due to “very hot weather” (qtd in Windisch, 2009). In addition, he blames this problem on the RTBU (Rail, Tram and Bus Union) claiming that it “stopped some trains running that could easily have been in use” (qtd in Windisch, 2009). Inhabitants of Melbourne are not satisfied with this explanation because the weather is hot during the summer, and that should not be an excuse for the train cancellations. More blame is shifted to Connex from RTBU about their failure to enhance continuance standards and provide adequate personnel to solve the problems. The trains cancellations prove inconveniencing to the passengers especially considering it is faster to use them to move around.

Ticket fares were increased by an estimated 9 percent from January 1 this year. All trips less than 40km were affected by this augment in fares. Going by this increase, public transport in Melbourne became the most expensive in Australia (Davies, “Is the 9% increase in public transport fares fair?”). Distraught commuters are forced to pay extra for short trips and lack of tickets leads to hefty fines imposed by the ticket inspectors. When found without a ticket, passengers are faced with the burden of paying up to $153 or face prosecution and harassment from the inspectors. These inspectors feel that they can harass commuters. Their continued aggression and confrontation behavior has led to complaints by commuters all over the city. It is not enough that fares have become unbearable the harassment is becoming overwhelming on users of public transport. With the augmenting fares and consumer frustration about the Melbourne transport system, stringent measures need to be taken for a better future.

Public transport and private means have resulted to increased traffic congestion on the roads of Melbourne. Buses and private cars have congested the road system in the city. Traveling to any part of the city has become a menace because of the ever-present traffic on the roads caused by the buses and other vehicles. Given by this discouraging phenomenon, more people are choosing to travel by train and this has led to overcrowding in the trains. Some companies that are introducing new trains and trams into the market have been accused of bringing low-quality trains into the city. The government has since been blamed for this problem because of poor planning and lack of rigorous rules and regulations in the transport system. Commuters have also complained about the poor services and infrequencies of the trams especially during weekends. Public transport minister admitted defeat when he said, “you’ll never ever get to the point where you can say we’ve fixed the problem” (qtd in Gardiner, “Public transport minister Terry Mulder has admitted he cannot deliver Melbourne a perfect train system”)

The wait between services is considered the most exasperating aspect of Melbourne transport system. This problem is specially witnessed during off-peak hours where commuters are forced to wait between 30 minutes and an hour for buses. In other cities around the world, passengers only have to wait 10 minutes between services, which makes their transport systems more attractive and convenient. Commuters are constantly complaining about having to wait for services at stations, and the government has not made any efforts to improve this situation. In addition, if the government improved the transport services, “more people would use the system and it would be safer as a result” (PTUA, “The problem with Melbourne’s Transport”). This can be done if the government and the private sector provided sufficient recruitment at the stations to make the passengers feel safe. Security has also been breached in trams because there are no conductors, therefore, instilling fear in most of the passengers.


The Melbourne transport system has been facing numerous challenges since time immemorial. Some of these problems range from fare issues, train cancellations, harassments from ticket inspectors and security in the system. Moreover, there have been rising cases of traffic congestion on the road given by the increasing number of buses and other vehicles, the government laxity to plan adequately and the long waits at stations. Ticket fares have gone up in recent times making it difficult to use public transport. Cases of trains cancellations especially during peak hours continue to inconvenience many commuters. Ticket inspectors have found a loophole in their work by harassing passengers for mistakes as little as lacking tickets in trains and trams.

Because the staffing on the transport system is not sufficient, insecurity continues to loom in the trains and trams. Buses and personal cars continue to increase the traffic congestion on the roads. Poor planning and laxity by the government has given way to unworthy trains in the systems, which have had to be cancelled for failure. Commuters are constantly complaining about the long wits at the stations between services. These problems have lowered international standards of Melbourne in comparison to other cities around the world. Looking at the problems in the Melbourne transport system it is imperative that effective measures are taken to improve the situation.


In order to counter the problem in the Melbourne transport system, government officials have to stop blaming train cancellations on the weather and do something about it. They should only allow trains in excellent conditions to operate. It would be in the best interests of the city if there were no train cancellations within the transport system. The prices for tickets also need to be regulated. The increase in fare has only chased commuters away from public transport hence reducing the revenue collected from public transport. Responsible government and private authorities should find ways to improve the pricing strategy in the system so that people would go back to using public transport. This problem goes hand in hand with that of ticket inspectors harassing commuters. Strict disciplinary measure should be taken against those inspectors found guilty of harassing passengers. This would teach other inspectors a lesson on respect for passengers and improve the relationship between them and the commuters.

The problem of traffic congestion on the roads caused by buses and cars can be dealt with if people used buses to travel instead of cars. This would substantially reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. The public transport ministry should impose rules on the trains and trams that are used by commuters in the city. This would increase public transport use and instill confidence of the public in the government. In addition, the government should ensure that all modes of transport adhere to the rules and regulations of the land. Waiting periods between services would be reduced if more trains worked during off peak hours and weekends. The transport system requires increased staffing in order to reduce the problem of security. Trams should have conductors to enhance security measures and boost commuter confidence about traveling at any time.





Works cited

Davies, A. “Is the 9% increase in public transport fares fair?” 7 December 2011. Web. 17 August 2012.

Gardiner, A. “Public transport minister Terry Mulder has admitted he cannot deliver Melbourne a perfect train system”. 15 August 2012. Web. 17 August 2012.

PTUA. “The problem with Melbourne’s transport”. n.d. Web. 17 August 2012.

Windisch, M. “Melbourne’s public transport chaos”. 24 January 2009. Web. 17 August 2012.

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