The staff at that stop do an incredible job announcing trams and helping commuters find their way to where they are going. I wrote this post last week about the fabulous announcements made by one of the staff at this stop.
At 8:30 this morning it was so busy there was a queue to get onto the platform. People were standing in the middle of the road between the tram tracks and the cars stranded because the platform was completely full.
As the lights changed, more and more people crossed the road to stand in a precarious line. I wasn't able to take a photo this morning, but I did take a photo of the crowd on the platform last week. Double or triple the number of people and you start to get the idea.
|Dangerously crowded tram platform in Melbourne CBD|
I've been wondering what the answer is. Holding bays on the footpaths, so that only the people boarding trams that have arrived - or about to arrive - are allowed to wait on the platform? Remodelling the stop to make it longer, so that it can hold more people? Perhaps a combination of these approaches so that both the long and short term are addressed.
The other problem is about being able to move along the platform to get to the tram you want to catch when it does arrive. This morning I waited in the queue to get onto the platform. As a wave of pedestrians crossed the road, they didn't join the end of the queue, they just blended in with the clump of people. No one was moving forwards. As a tram arrived people did move forward, but then there was the problem of the people exiting the tram who were added into the crush already on the platform. Many disembarking from the front door solved this by stepping directly onto the tracks and walking off that way.
The number 1 tram I wanted to catch this morning (I missed one while I was stuck waiting in the queue off the platform) was third in a line of trams, so I had to make my way to the opposite end of the platform. I quickly fell in behind two men who were doing the same thing. Half way through my trek, someone started to push me from behind. I turned around and asked them to please not push me. They pointed at the tram and said they wanted to catch that tram. I pointed out that that was what we were all trying to do and we just had to make our way patiently.
It's not just the traffic, the likelihood of being run over by a tram, but the likelihood of frayed tempers and surging crowds that also worries me. Thankfully Melbournians are generally well trained and well behaved in crowds. In their desperation to get to their destination, someone might do something silly
The day after I took the photo above, I noticed a man taking the same photo. I remarked on this to him.
"Yeah, well I'm from Tasmania and I've never seen so many people!" was his response.
I know that I might sound like a shock jock, but what's it going to take to fix public transport infrastructure like this? A death?