Melbourne public transport – Significant service changes

This page lists significant service changes to Melbourne’s public transport since 1993. Any additions or corrections welcome: contact me.

Note: Some older links may now be broken. Try the Internet Archive. There are some formatting problems at present. These will be resolved soon.

1993:

  • Tram route 77 deleted. Route is covered by routes 70 and 78/79 and night route 99
  • Tender of nine country rail lines, to be replaced with private buses or privately operated trains
  • Automatic ticket machines to be introduced, replacing some railway station staff and tram conductors. Many tram routes already made driver-only on weekends and evenings
  • Customer Service Employees being introduced to help passengers on trams and trains
  • Many government bus routes taken over by National Bus Company
  • Some Public Transport Corporation depots and workshops to be closed and/or privatised
  • Tram routes 3, 57 and 82, formerly operated as buses on Sundays, reverted to driver-only tram operation 1993
  • Jul: East Burwood 75 tram extension opened
  • All but 50 W-class trams to be phased out of regular service. W-class trams to be run only on tourist routes (8, 12, 16), including the City Circle. The “phased out” trams will be kept in storage for special events.
  • All Frankston/Dandenong trains stop at South Yarra
  • Fifty suburban stations to be converted to “Premium” status, with increased security, staffed from first until last train. Remaining stations to have improved lighting, security cameras and intercoms
  • Security on The Met taken over by Victoria Police
  • Aug: City Circle train service deleted

1994:

  • Apr: Free City Circle tram route opened (Flinders St, Spencer St, LaTrobe St-Victoria Pde, Spring St)
  • No subsidy of special services to AFL Park Clayton for football; private buses now run, not accepting Met tickets
  • Z3 class trams being converted to remove seated conductors, in preparation for ticket machines, 1994-95
  • Driver only trains introduced 1994-95, warning alarms fitted to doors

1995:

  • Dandenong to Cranbourne rail line opened
  • Most through-routed tram services split into two routes. Route 10 became routes 11/12. Route 15 became routes 16/22.
  • Tram 79 frequency reduced to 30 minutes all day Sunday
  • Bundoora tram 86 extended to RMIT Bundoora
  • Tram 72 operated as bus beyond Glen Iris during South-Eastern freeway work, 1995-6.
  • Dec: the Government announced improved services on Frankston, Dandenong, Ringwood, Sandringham rail lines, and an integrated transport strategy (whatever that means), to begin in February 1996.
  • Limited after midnight services introduced for New Years Eve

1996:

  • Feb: More Ringwood/Belgrave/Lilydale/Alamein, Frankston, Dandenong/Cranbourne/Pakenham trains (weekday off-peak changed from every 20 to every 15 minutes, Sunday until 7pm from every 40 to every 30 minutes). Alamein Mon-Sat evening trains upgraded from 60 to 30 mins. Sandringham trains no longer through loop. No sign of the “integrated transport strategy”.
  • Late 1996-1997: Ticket machines introduced on tram route 75, Glen Waverley and Alamein train lines, and Driver and Ventura bus routes.

1997:

  • Feb: City Loop to open on Sunday until 7pm (but Flagstaff closed on weekends, Parliament closed on Sundays.) Glen Waverley line Sunday daytime frequency improved from 40 to 30 minutes.
  • Feb: Museum station renamed Melbourne Central
  • Mar: Friday and Saturday NightLink trams trialled (route 99, City to Richmond, then via Chapel Street to St Kilda Beach, then via light rail track to City, Collins Street, then to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy)
  • May: Upfield line closed between North Melbourne and Flemington Bridge due to CityLink road works
  • Mid-1997: Announcement of Princes Bridge (Flinders Street platforms 14 to 16) to close
  • Government announced all tram and train services to be corporatised then privatised. Trains split into “Hillside” (Clifton Hill and Burnley group) and “Bayside” (Northern and Caulfield group) services. Trams are Yarra Trams (CBD east-west routes) and Swanston Trams (all others).

1998:

  • Late-1998: Metcard automated ticketing operating on all routes except National Bus Company

1999:

  • Jan: Fares up
  • May 28: Route 70 stopped serving Batman Ave
  • Jun 7: Route 70 commenced serving Exhibition Street and Flinders Street
  • Jul: Higher frequencies on Sunday afternoons on all tram and train routes (to equal Saturday frequencies). City Loop (Parliament and Melbourne Central) open Sundays until 7pm. Cranbourne trains extended to midnight Monday to Thursday. Ringwood to Belgrave and Lilydale on Saturday upgraded from 40 to 20 minutes 10am to 7pm.
  • Aug: Train and tram companies privatised. Bayside Trains and Swanston Trams and V/Line Passenger owned by National Express. Yarra Trams owned by Metrolink. Hillside Trains owned by CGEA Transport.
  • Christmas: Free services on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve (all night tram/train services)

2000:

  • Hillside trains renamed Connex Melbourne
  • Connex starts introducing refurbished trains
  • W class trams withdrawn from service because of brake safety fears
  • Mar: Tram 86 extended to Docklands
  • Apr: Ringwood to Belgrave and Lilydale on Saturday upgraded to 20 mins 7am to 7pm.
  • Jul: fares up by 10% with introduction of GST
  • Nov: Bayside lines Sunday night frequencies improved to equal Saturday night frequencies (mostly 30 minutes). City Loop (Parliament and Melbourne Central) opened until last train on Sundays rather than closing at 7pm.
  • Dec: Some Swanston tram route weekday daytime frequencies improve from every 15 to every 12 minutes

2001:

  • Mar: Small number of roving conductors begin selling Premium Daily tickets on trams (more expensive than from machines)
  • Jun: Toorak Rd dynamic fairway begins operation.
  • Aug: First Citadis tram arrives in preparation for service
  • Oct: Bayside Trains to be renamed M>Train. Swanston Trams to be renamed M>Tram.

2002:

  • Jan: Fares up approx 2% on average
  • Jan: Study concludes Airport rail link not viable for at least 10 years
  • Jan: Train extension St Albans to Sydenham (aka Watergardens) opened
  • May: First X’Trapolis train launched
  • Jul: St Vincents Plaza tram interchange opened
  • Jul: PTUA and CLCV release “Transport Rights” brochure, prompting establishment of PT Ombudsman. Government press release.
  • Jul 26: General Motors station closes
  • Aug 5: Smartbus Springvale Rd (888/889) and Blackburn Rd (703) upgraded, with longer operating hours, more frequent services, and some electronic bus stop signs and traffic priority
  • Sep: Tram Metcard machines start selling daily tickets
  • Oct: Spencer Street station upgrade commenced. During construction there was sporadic interruption to train services, including some trains not stopping at the station, and some not running via the loop on evenings/weekends
  • Oct 13: Steam train collides with truck near Benalla. Two crew and one passenger riding in the cab killed. ABC report.
  • Dec 19: First Siemens Combino 3-section trams begin service
  • Dec 23: National Express abandons M>Train and M>Tram operations, placing them in government hands (until Apr 2004) Age report

2003:

  • Jan: fares up approx 3.1% on average
  • Jan: Doncaster Park+Ride facility opened
  • Jan: City Circle tram extended into Docklands. Frequency dropped to 12 minutes
  • May: Tram extension Mont Albert to Box Hill (route 109) opened
  • Jun: Metlink established to market Melbourne’s public transport
  • Sep: Upfield line peak hour services upgraded to 6-car trains
  • Nov: Cranbourne Trainlink bus service launched, meeting every train
  • Nov 5: Melbourne Central Station direct Swanston Street escalator connection closes for redevelopment. How it looked before it closed.
  • Nov 15: V/Line Sprinter train collides with a ute left on the track between Ballan and Gordon, causing 60 injuries. Age report.
  • Dec: Epping to Mill Park Trainlink bus service launched, meeting every train
  • Dec: New Year’s Eve services leave thousands behind in city after finishing approx 1:30am. — Publicity by PTUA prompts all night trains for future NYEs

2004:

  • Jan: Metcard fares up 9.8% on average. Short Trip and Rail+2 tickets abolished. City Saver and 5xDaily pack introduced. Metcards made available online.
  • Mar 4: First Siemens Combino 5-section tram begin service
  • Apr: Re-privatisation, with new train and tram contracts taking effect. New contracts include all-night trains on NYE, station host staff at 31 stations during morning peak (plus some in afternoons), security staff on 80% of train kms after 9pm. Connex running all suburban trains; Yarra Trams running all suburban trams. V/Line continues in public ownership.
  • Jul: Public Transport Ombudsman starts
  • Jul: W-Class trams commence on route 78/79
  • Sep: Ventura Bus buys National Bus Company from National Express.
  • Nov 25: Metropolitan Transport Plan released
  • Dec: Comprehensive New Year’s Eve all-night train/tram services, free for use, sponsored by ING

2005:

  • Jan: Ticket increase. Weekly, 5xDaily, 10×2 hour fares now matching. Concessions expanded to all Health Care cards. Tertiary Concession cards dropped to $8 per year.
  • Jan: Tram extension Docklands New Quay (route 48) opened
  • Apr: Yarra Trams control centre opened
  • Apr 17: Sunday Saver ticket introduced – $2.50 all day, all zones (only sold by station staff and Metcard retail outlets, not ticket machines).
  • Jun: Smartbus Warrigal Rd (700) services upgraded (Route 766 established for part of old 700 route)
  • Jul: Tram extension East Burwood to Vermont South (route 75) opened, along with co-ordinated bus link (route 732) to Knox City
  • Dec: Spencer Street Station renamed as Southern Cross Station

2006:

  • Jan: V/Line open-ended returns discontinued. Viclink announcement.
  • Jan: Fares increase
  • Mar: Commonwealth Games extra services: trains every 20 mins 7pm-12:30am; trams every 10-15 mins 7pm-12:30am; tram routes 3 and 5 replaced by 53 and 55 (through-routed to West Coburg via William St); 10 city bus routes extended hours; 51 suburban routes extended hours on weeknights to meet trains. Nightriders every 60 mins Sun-Thu; every 30 mins Fri/Sat. Skybus every 10 mins at peak times. Metlink information.
  • Apr 22: V/Line tickets valid in Metcard zone of origin/destination, and on country town buses. Viclink announcement.
  • Apr 28: V/Line V/Locity train collides with truck on level crossing, killing two passengers. Report: ABC.
  • May: Government “Meeting Our Transport Challenges” plan launched. Government announcement.
  • Sep: V/Line commences new timetables on Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Seymour lines, as a result of the Fast Rail upgrades. New Traralgon timetable to commence on Oct 15.
  • Sep 15: Yarra Trams commences after-midnight services on Friday and Saturday nights until approx 1am; all routes except 82.
  • Sep-Oct: Some bus routes commence additional services, running 6am to 9pm weekdays, 8am to 9pm Saturdays, 9am to 9pm Sundays (hourly in most cases)
  • Oct: Connex commences after-midnight services on Friday and Saturday nights until approx 1am; all lines except Alamein, Williamstown, Stony Point
  • Oct 16: Smartbus 900 (Caulfield to Rowville) commences services.
  • Late 2006: Spencer Street (Southern Cross) station upgrade completed

2007:

  • Jan price rise deferred until Mar (to happen with other revisions) and then until Jun (as a result of pressure on government over poor train performance)
  • Jan-Feb: Problems with Siemens trains see dozens of services cancelled daily.
  • Mar 2: Nightrider buses begin accepting and selling Metcards
  • Mar 4: Fares and ticketing revised: Zone 3 abolished. Some V/Line stations pegged to zone 2 fares. Other V/Line fares cut by 20%. Reservations compulsory on all V/Line long-distance services. National Bus section tickets removed. Fares as above, but zone 3 included in zone 2.
  • Mar 4: New V/Line timetables began. PM Long-distance trains leaving Melbourne moved to after 6pm (so they are off-peak).
  • Mar: Melbourne suburban bus route reviews commence with public workshops, initially for the Moonee Valley/Hobson’s Bay area
  • Jun 3: Fares increase
  • Jun 5: A truck collides with a V/Line train near Kerang, killing 10 train passengers. (Reports: BBC Age Herald-Sun ABC)
  • Sep 30: Craigieburn electrification opened. New timetable begins.
  • Nov: Connex starts running 6-car trains on weekends until 7pm on all lines, except Upfield, Williamstown, Alamein, Stony Point

2008:

  • Jan: Fares increase
  • Jan: Ban on bicycles on peak direction trains: V/Line before 9am and 4pm-6pm, Connex 7am-9am and 4pm-7pm. ( Link to PTUA information and media coverage)
  • February 15: Bike ban withdrawn. (Media report)
  • Mar 24: Smartbus 901 (Ringwood to Frankston) commences operation, absorbing route 665.
  • Apr 1: 5 x Weekend Saver introduced – $14.50 for all day travel on 5 weekend days.
  • Apr: New metro train timetable, and new operating plan (for Nov) announced.
  • Nov 9: New metro train timetable. Clifton Hill trains to run clockwise around the loop all day on weekdays, anti-clockwise on weekends. Werribee trains to run direct to Flinders Street during peak periods. Extra evening trains to Ringwood. More non-PSR and repositioning trips added into the public timetable, and extra services and minor changes on some lines. List of extra services.
  • Dec 8: Victorian Transport Plan released

2009:

  • Jan 1: Fares increase
  • Jan 31: Tram 3 altered to run as tram 3a via St Kilda Beach on weekends
  • Jan-Feb: Heat and industrial action contributed to large numbers of cancellations on the rail network (both Connex and V/Line)
  • Mar 2: Myki smartcard ticketing begins full operation in Geelong. This was followed by Seymour (23rd Mar), Ballarat (9th Apr), Bendigo (27th Apr) and Latrobe Valley (18th May)
  • May 5: Government announces funding for extra trains, Epping to South Morang rail, Sydenham to Sunbury electrification, Nunawading grade separation, Doncaster Area Rapid Transit bus upgrade, and other upgrades (govt press release)
  • May 18: Announcement of Federal/State joint funding of Regional Rail Link project (govt press release)
  • Apr 20: Smartbus 903 begins operation, absorbing Smartbus 700 and route 291.
  • Jun 25: Government announces Metro Trains Melbourne and Keolis Downer EDI are preferred tenderers to run Melbourne’s trains and trams, from Nov 30. (Govt press releases: Trains, Trams, video)
  • Jul 20: New train timetables. Werribee line upgraded to 6 trains per hour inter-peak weekdays (govt press release). Some other lines got a small number of extra services.
  • Nov 1: Some changes to zone boundaries for bus routes, in preparation for Myki ticketing system (Govt press release)
  • Dec 1: Metro Trains Melbourne (trading as Metro Trains) takes over from Connex. KDR (trading as Yarra Trams) takes over from Transdev TSL.
  • Dec 29: Myki ticketing system starts on trains only, including V/Line trains within zone 1/2. Metcards remain in use.
  • Dec 30: First of new 38 trains (X’Trapolis) goes into service, but only for a handful of trips. (Age report)

2010:

  • Jan 1: Usual annual fare increase deferred
  • Jan 18: Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky resigns from Parliament citing family health issues
  • Jan 20: Martin Pakula is appointed Public Transport Minister
  • Mar 29: Metro deploys platform staff with flags and whistles during evening peak 3pm-7pm at Flinders Street Station, later to include Parliament and Flagstaff. (Herald Sun report)
  • Apr 5: Green Orbital Smartbus 902 starts (Chelsea to Airport West, absorbing 888/889, part of 281, 560) (Govt press release)
  • May 4: State budget includes funding for 50 new trams; upgrade to Preston tram depot; stations at Williams Landing, Caroline Springs, Pakenham Cardinia Road, Lynbrook; 20 stations to be upgraded to Premium status. (Govt press release)
  • Jun 6: New train timetables, providing some new services, and opening of Coolaroo station. Stopping patterns rationalised on Cranbourne/Pakenham/Frankston lines. Most Frankston express trains no longer run via City Loop in peak hours. Interpeak Cran/Pak trains now run express South Yarra to Malvern; Frankston trains stop. All trains stop all stations between Malvern and South Yarra on weekends. Some extra evening trains on Hurstbridge line. (Metro article)
  • Jun 6: Regular fulltime staffing of station gates commences, including Caulfield centre platforms, and Glenferrie.
  • Jul 25: Myki becomes valid on Melbourne trams and buses (Govt press release, Age story and Channel 10 report). Tram route zone 2 sections become part of zone 1+2 overlap, to allow no touch-off for Myki users on trams. City Saver zone removed from Myki.
  • Sep 26: Smartbus 901 (Yellow Orbital) extended from Ringwood via Doncaster, Greensborough, South Morang, Epping, Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows to Melbourne Airport. (Govt press release)
  • Oct 4: DART (Doncaster Area Rapid Transit) Smartbus services 905, 906, 907, 908 (replacing 301, 304, 307, 319/308) start. (Govt press release)
  • Oct 10: New Metro train timetables. First two Laverton to City services introduced. Frankston line to run every 10 minutes weekdays 9am to 4:30pm (up from 15 mins), and every 20 minutes 7pm-10pm (up from 30 mins). Some extra services on Craigieburn, Sydenham lines. Weekend evening Burnley trains to run as 6 cars. (Govt press release)
  • Oct 25: Geelong/Bellarine Peninsula “stage 2” of bus reforms take effect. (Govt press release)
  • Oct: Some extra tram services on routes 19, 31, 55, 57, 59, 82. (Yarra Trams)
  • Nov 27: State election. Labor lost to Coalition. New minister for public transport: Terry Mulder
  • Dec: Commuter Club switches to Myki. Myki rollout to retailers commences

2011:

  • Mar 12: Fare rise to take effect
  • May 4: new Metro timetables. Werribee direct express trains to run every 11 mins peak, 20 mins interpeak. Laverton to City every 22 mins peak. Laverton to Newport shuttles every 20 mins interpeak. Williamstown to City every 22 mins peak, 20 mins interpeak. Frankston to city every 10 mins interpeak, all direct to Flinders St. Glen Waverley direct to Flinders St before midday; via loop after midday. Alamein/Blackburn/Ringwood stopping trains via loop before midday; direct from Flinders St after midday.
  • June: Baillieu government announces that Myki will be retained, but rollout will not include V/Line beyond the “commuter belt” stations, and single use (Short Term) tickets will be phased-out from regional cities, and not implemented in Melbourne. (AFR story)
  • Aug 28: Yarra Trams begins phasing out minor “phantom” route numbers, in favour of “a” (altered) or “d” (depot) suffixes. (Yarra Trams)
  • Oct: some Sunday morning tram services improved from every 30 to every 20 minutes before 10am. (Yarra Trams)
  • Nov 28: Epping timetable changes for opening of new Epping station and duplication from Keon Park to Epping
  • Dec: First of the new Swanston St (at Latrobe St) tram superstops opens

2012

  • Jan 1: Fare rise 8.6% (CPI 3.6% plus 5%) in effect
  • Apr 2: Public Transport Development Authority (trading as Public Transport Victoria, a merger of Department of Transport’s Public Transport Division, Metlink and some other staff) took over responsibility for planning, coordination.
  • Apr 22: rail extension to South Morang opened; also new stations at Lynbrook and Cardinia Road. Weekend (10am-7pm) 10-minute services start between CBD and Dandenong, Ringwood and Frankston. Bus network changes in South Morang area including removal of Trainlink 571.
  • Nov 18: Sunbury electrification opened; initial timetable had roughly half of all trains extended from Sydenham to Sunbury (eg every 40 mins off-peak and weekends)
  • Dec 29: Metcard phased out, with only Myki cards for sale on Melbourne public transport. No ticket sales or top-up on trams.

2013

  • Jan 1: Fare rise: 6.8% (CPI 3.8% plus 5%) comes into effect. (Govt statement)
  • Jan 30: V/Line to trial quiet carriages (Govt statement)
  • Mar: Rail studies released: Rowville (Govt statement); Melbourne Airport (Govt statement); Doncaster (Govt statement)
  • Mar 27: PTV releases rail network development plan (PTV statement; PTV plan)
  • Apr 28: Williams Landing station opened. Some bus network changes in the area.
  • May 7: State budget includes funding for 8 more suburban trains and stabling, Ringwood station precinct upgrade, Frankston/Williamstown/Werribee lines upgrade package, continued PSOs rollout, Grovedale station construction. (Govt statement)
  • Jun 3: Rail Revival Study report released (Govt statement; PTV web site)
  • Jun 24: Myki valid on V/Line Seymour line. Paper tickets still on sale. (PTV statement). Jul 8: Gippsland line between Melbourne and Traralgon. Jul 17: Bendigo line. Jul 24: Ballarat line. Jul 29: Geelong line between Melbourne and Marshall.
  • Aug 1: Transdev takes over running most Smartbus routes, as well as many north-eastern Ventura routes, and Melbourne Bus Link routes (PTV statement)
  • Sep 23: V/Line periodical paper tickets no longer on sale; periodicals only on Myki. Paper single/daily return tickets still on sale on V/Line.
  • Oct 13: New West Footscray station opens (Govt statement)
  • Oct 31: V/Line Bairnsdale trains resume after shut down for safety issues (Govt statement)
  • Nov 4: First two new E-class trams launched on route 96 (Govt statement)
  • Dec 13: Government announces fare rises in Jan 2014 by CPI, and CPI plus 2.5% each Jan from 2015-2018. (Govt statement)
  • Dec 22: RRL project – Southern Cross Station platforms 15+16 open. Geelong trains now bypass North Melbourne. (Govt statement)
  • Dec 22: Talbot station re-opens. (Govt statement)
  • Dec 23 to Jan 24: Summer timetables: including RRL works with buses replacing trains on Sunbury, Bendigo and Ballarat lines; Mitcham grade separation works with buses replacing trains between Ringwood and Blackburn; most other Melbourne suburban timetables reduced (Govt statement)

2014

  • Jan 1: Fare rise. Most fares up by CPI as announced 13/12/2013, but Weekend/Public Holiday cap up from $3.50 to $6.
  • Jan 25: Mitcham grade separations and new station opens (Govt statement)
  • Jan 27-28: New bus networks for Craigieburn, Pakenham, Gisborne areas (PTV statement) and some CBD/Docklands tram changes (PTV statement)
  • Mar 1: Smoking banned on all railway and tram platforms, expanding previous ban in undercover areas (Govt statement)
  • Apr 22: Springvale grade separation and new station opens (Govt statement)
  • Apr 28: New platforms open at Sunshine as part of Regional Rail Link (Govt statement)
  • May 6: State budget announces Melbourne Rail Link tunnel, Melbourne Airport rail link, Cranbourne-Pakenham corridor upgrade, grade separations at St Albans, Blackburn, Gardiner, Ormond (Govt statement)
  • Jul 1: Myki 2-hour fares now exactly 2-hours from touch-on (except after 6pm; expiry time continues to be 3am)
  • Nov 30: State election. Labor returned. New Public Transport Minister: Jacinta Allan.

2015

  • Jan 1: Fare rise of CPI+2.5%, however following an election pledge from both Labor and the Coalition, zone 1+2 trips are now capped at the zone 1 rate.
  • Jan 1: Free Tram Zone takes effect, basically covering the Hoddle Grid, with extensions to Victoria Market and Docklands
  • Jun 21: Regional Rail Link opens, with new V/Line and local bus timetables to serve Wyndham Vale and Tarneit stations.

2016

  • Jan 1: Fares up approx 4% (CPI plus 2.5%, as first flagged in December 2013)
  • Jan 1: Night Network one year trial (pledged by Labor as “Homesafe”) begins: all-night weekend trains (hourly), trams (6 routes, half-hourly) and buses (special night routes; some hourly, some half-hourly). Also 2am coach departures to regional cities. PTV service information

Expected changes:

  • Tram route 96 “premium service” to be introduced: trams at least every 10 minutes during all service hours; traffic light priority; platform stops.
  • 2012-2017: First of 50 new trams to be delivered late 2013. Rollout from 2013-2017.
  • 2015-2018: Fares to rise by CPI plus 2.5% each Jan
  • 2016: Caroline Springs station to open, at a cost of $32m (Govt statement)
  • 2016: Southland station to open, at a cost of $21m (Govt statement)

Corrections and suggestions: danielbowen at gmail.com

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can subscribe via feed reader RSS, or subscribe by email. You can also Follow me on Twitter, or Like the blog on Facebook.

1 thought on “Melbourne public transport – Significant service changes”

  1. 1
    David says:

    you have Museum>Melb central renaming occuring in both Feb 1996 and Feb 1997.

    surprised you have no mention of level crossing works (govt promise of 50 removed, i was skeptical but seems to be happening), or the MMR tunnels…

    would have sent directly, and no issues if you delete this, but got lazy :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.