Sunday, 30 November 2008

Tripping the light tram-tastic

This post is for Andrew who leaves me green with envy over his detailed descriptions of tram travel undertaken on the extensive tram system in Melbourne.

Unlike Andrew, I could not say that I caught tram number X, then changed to tram number Y and ended up on tram number Z when I took Sydney's light rail to the Casino today to purchase my new Priscilla tickets.

Once the owner of one of the largest tram systems in the world, Sydney now has the one partially novelty, partially commuter service.

I took the light rail from Capitol Square (at George Street) to Star City where the Casino and the Lyric Theatre are located. I could have travelled for free as the conductor seemed to assume that I was Casino employee and did not seek my fare but being the honest soul I am I summoned him back and paid the $5.70 return fare. Most of the seats were taken on the outbound trip when I boarded and some of the passengers departed at the various Darling Harbour stops.

By coincidence I had the same conductor on the return trip and perhaps he remembered me or else once again assumed I was a Casino employee because again he did not approach me about the fare. I don't know why he would have thought I was an employee as I was dressed in casual shorts and a white T-shirt.

When I returned to George Street, the Christmas Parade was in progress and I caught the very end of it as it was passing by the Sydney Town Hall.

I had thought about using the monorail for the return trip but in the end didn't bother. I am still a monorail virgin having never travelled on it in all the years that it has been operating. My original resistance to using it was ideological as I was aghast at the eyesore spoiling Sydney's CBD when it was constructed. It has been around now for so long that it has become a part of the city and my resistance has dissipated.


  1. Idiots us got on your tram, went up to Central Station and ended up back where we started at Paddy's Market. Next time I will take the full trip to Lilyfield. I have a much better idea now. I recall the protests against Nifty Nev's monrail led? by Patrick White very well.

    The real problem with trams is when one fails, the rest are stuck behind. This gives buses one real advantage. Much as I whinge about our trams, I would hate to not have them.

    Came across this vid recently. How efficient were Sydney trams at moving crowds!

  2. Andrew - Sydney had a wonderful tram system. As a child, I travelled to and from school by tram and I wanted to grow up to be a tram driver. I was devestated when Sydney ceased tram operations in 1963.

  3. You still have conductors? How quaint! That'd be such a novelty to us Melbournians, isn't the rest of your public transport ticketing system automated though?

  4. Ah Kezza - you really know how to wound! The NSW Government has wasted tens of millions of taxpayers dollars on developing a comprehensive automated ticketing system that was to be ready in time for the Sydney Olympics (remember them, they were held in 2000) and eventually abandoned the project late last year. Now the Government is sueing the project company for damages (using further taxpayers dollars) and the company is counter-sueing the Government.

    So no, we don't (yet) have a comprehensive automated ticketing system.

  5. Ah, Sydney...I miss it you know. And I only used the monorail once - enough to know that it is largely pointless and very ugly.

    Now, I'm very jealous of the Priscilla tickets...I want to go see that so much!

  6. Hmmm...I had no idea there were trams in Sydney. Hope it's more user friendly than the train network.