B-Class tram upgrade delivers capacity and safety boost
Added: 21 October 2013
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has invested $4.4 million to upgrade Melbourne's B-Class trams.
The double carriage B-Class trams make up a quarter of the Melbourne tram fleet and transport approximately 50 million passenger journeys each year.
The changes incorporate the common passenger requests for additional hold points along with new seating fabric, brighter step lighting and 'lean seats' providing more space to move around the tram.
The project will be completed in early 2014.
A new standard of 'cool white' LED lighting will be fitted to step areas improving safety and greater visibility for car drivers of passengers alighting. The lighting is more than twice as bright as the current style and exceeds recommended standards.
The durable seat fabric seen on the majority of Melbourne's trams will be added to provide a more comfortable all-seasons ride for passengers.
An ergonomically designed 'lean seat' will be added to replicate the angled seats used on the low-floor C-Class trams, including the 'Bumblebees'.
The change will allow a better flow of passengers into and out of the tram, reducing the likelihood of a bottleneck at the doorway and allow passengers to move through the cabin easier. The extra floor space will also allow placement of school or shopping bags away from standing areas, and a space for prams that is clear of the doorway.
It's estimated that each tram will have its capacity boosted by between seven and nine per trip thanks to the new layout. This represents room for up to 1100 more passengers across the entire B-Class fleet.
The installation of floor to ceiling double poles and handles on the 'lean seats' increases the amount of safety handles available. All passengers are reminded that they must always hold on while standing when the tram is moving as sudden stops are sometimes necessary.
In addition to the works above, several changes have been made to improve B-Class trams. These include upgrades to panels and floors, as well as smaller stop signs on the outside of trams. The new signs will remain visible to motorists, but will reduce the likelihood of impact with waiting passengers.
The original B-Class layout (left) and the extra passenger space created by the new design (right)
A comparison between the original step lighting (left) and the new brighter version (right)