Trams in Melbourne

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Trams in Melbourne, Australia, are a major form of public transport and Melbourne is home to the largest tram network in the world,[1] (following the dismantling of much of Saint Petersburg's tramway tracks early in the 21st century). Melbourne's network consists of 245 km (152.2 mi) of track, 500 trams,[2] 28 routes, and 1,813 tram stops.[3]

In terms of overall boardings, trams are the second most used form of public transport in Melbourne after the commuter railway network with a total of 178 million passenger trips a year.[4] The network carries 83% as many passengers as metropolitan rail despite having less than half the range. As of 2009, trams had the fastest growing patronage of any mode of transport in Melbourne, despite having less overall spent on extension than the rail or freeway network in the last decade.

Melbourne is the only city in Australia where, at some intersections, motor vehicles are required to perform a hook turn, a manoeuvre designed to give trams priority. To further improve tram speeds on congested Melbourne streets, trams also have priority in road usage, with specially fitted traffic lights and exclusive lanes being provided either at all times or in peak times, as well as other measures.

Trams are a distinctive part of Melbourne's character and trams feature heavily in tourism and travel advertising.

Melbourne's tram network is based on standard gauge tracks and powered by overhead wires at 600 volts DC. The infrastructure and rolling stock is owned by the Victorian Government and operated under contract, the current private operator being KDR Melbourne, operating as Yarra Trams. Melbourne's trams are a part of the Metlink marketing brand, and the Metcard and myki integrated ticketing systems.

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