Melbourne tram network maps and onboard advertising

Onboard Melbourne’s trams you will find two types of stickers located above the windows. The first are network maps, the second advertisements – but sometimes the two intersect.

Network maps are pretty easy to spot: a few coloured lines squiggled across the map with major tram stops and destinations marked on it.

Route 55/57/59/82 map onboard a B2 class tram from Essendon Depot

As for the intersection between advertisements and network maps – some are abvious. This advert for payday lender ‘Cash Train’ features a London Underground style roundel for their logo, and a network map style graphic along the bottom.

Network map styled advert for 'Cash Train' payday lenders

But an advert that made me do a double take was this one for Melbourne newspaper ‘The Age‘. Aping the design of the official maps found alongside, the diagram lists every tram stop on route 86 between Melbourne Museum and Waterfront City:

PTV style network map features in an advertisement for 'The Age'

The wording below the map reads:

There are ten foxes per square kilometre in Melbourne. Chances are, we just passed one.

And between every ‘real’ tram stop is a fox. Very clever!


The multicoloured network maps current found onboard trams were launched in April 2011, and can be found in a few different flavours: each of Melbourne’s trams is based at a ‘home’ depot, and hence has a set of tram routes that it will normally operate on.

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5 Responses to “Melbourne tram network maps and onboard advertising”

  1. Andrew says:

    I haven’t seen The Age ad. Quite amusing.

    While stylised maps have their place, I am not so keen on them as distances are never clear and can give very false impressions.

    • Marcus says:

      You’re correct about the misleading distances, which comes from only including the major tram stops outside the inner city. But given the space constraints of the stickers, showing every tram stop on a given route would make things incredibly messy.

  2. Daniel says:

    The tram network was an improvement, but unfortunately still (nearly 2 years after its launch) still has a lot of errors in it.

    • Marcus says:

      Seems odd they are taking so long to fix the faults with it: otherwise it is vast improvement over the old map, that only used colour to indicated fare zone boundaries. Using colour to indicate how different routes work together is a far better way to display the network.

      Now we just need the train network diagram to switch over to the same style, and a consistent City Loop vs direct to Flinders Street operation pattern to be shown on it!

  3. Tim Chuma says:

    Plus they can’t even spell Caulfield correctly on the tram route maps and leave out the “l”

    The Orbweavers did this for a recent show by hand

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