Over the past few years Yarra Trams have been closing tram stops all over the Melbourne CBD, as they embark on a program of building new platform stops that provided level access to the modern fleet of low floor trams. The most recent removal is stop 121 at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets, for routes 75 and 86.
Closed from 22 May 2013, Yarra Trams gave the following explanation for the closure:
A recent review by Yarra Trams and Public Transport Victoria of the environment and layout at these stops has identified an increased safety risk to passengers and pedestrians. A number of improvement strategies have been trialled with minimal success. Yarra Trams is committed to ensuring the safety of its passengers and has therefore decided to close these stops permanently.
Here is the stop before it was removed.
Congestion from passengers wanting to board trams bound for the City Centre must have been one of the reasons for the stop closing, as back in 2012 Yarra Trams ran a trial where route 86 trams would skip the stop, instead using the platform stop around the corner.
However I am yet to be convinced closing the stop will fix all of the problems – plenty of dimwitted motorists managed to miss the stop line for the traffic lights, and almost lose their front bumper to turning trams.
It also does nothing to fix the congestion at the westbound platform stop at the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets, where crowds of commuters in afternoon peak fill the street in an attempt to reach Southern Cross Station.