Conductors have been replaced by ticketing machines.
Unlike conductors, the machines don't offer advice, they don't
tell jokes and they don't help elderly people or families with prams.
When something goes wrong, they simply stop working. Unlike connies,
they don't get cranky.
Is it too late? We don't think so. The first privatised tram company
to put connies back on board would win hero status.
Handled properly, the move might even attract extra passengers.
A connie or two on the busiest section of a central tram route
for example, along St Kilda Road and Swanston Street from the Shrine
to Melbourne University would make a great start.
We urge our privatised tram companies to give the idea a trial,
if only on a limited basis. Tram travellers, like other Victorians,
need a sign that even economic rationalism has a heart.