Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Australian-first graffiti trial to cover Melbourne trams

The Victorian Government is backing a new Australian-first trial to combat the rise of glass-etched graffiti on tram shelters across Melbourne.

Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll, visited the tram shelter on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Street in the city’s CBD to inspect the first anti-graffiti covering being installed.

“We’re backing this new trial to protect tram shelters from unsightly graffiti as part of our ongoing work to make our tram network clean and safe to locals and tourists across Melbourne,” said Minister Carroll.

He said that over the past year, glass-etched graffiti had taken over tram shelters across the city.

The graffiti, made with specialist glass etching paint, is nearly impossible to remove from tram shelters once applied as the paint quickly eats into the glass shelters and leaves a pale etching which is cut into the glass.

With nearly all glass tram shelters now affected by this type of vandalism, Yarra Trams will install the anti-graffiti covering to three tram shelters in the city and Thornbury as part of the 12-week trial.

The glass covering will obscure existing damage to tram shelters, removing the need for a costly overhaul of dozens of tram shelters across the network.

Yarra Trams operator, Keolis Downer, spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year cleaning stops and removing graffiti across the network – with the cost of replacing glass at a damaged tram shelter up to $3 thousand.

“Keolis Downer, operator of Yarra Trams, is proud to be delivering Australian-first innovations to Melbourne’s historic tram network, and this is just one example of the work we’re doing to improve the experience of all our passengers,” said Yarra Trams’ Chief Executive Officer, Carla Purcell.

The tram shelter covering will also feature an iconic gum leaf pattern reminiscent of Yarra Trams’ seats. The pattern aims to also discourage traditional graffiti by making messages more difficult to read. It can also be easily cleaned and quickly replaced if damaged in any way, the Minister said.

It’s the first time in Australia a patterned glass covering has been applied on public transport infrastructure with the aim of preventing glass-etched graffiti.

The three stops in the CBD and Thornbury have been selected for the trial due to the volume of glass-etched graffiti directed at tram infrastructure in the area.

If the trial is successful, it’s envisaged the anti-graffiti covering will be rolled out across the network to eligible shelters over the course of 2023 and into the future.

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