All-night public transport to keep Melbourne on the move

 theage.com.au  4/21/2017 11:50:46 PM  2

Good news for shift workers, night clubbers and insomniacs: 24-hour weekend public transport is here to stay.

The Andrews government has announced that a trial of all-night public transport has been so popular the service will become permanent, costing $193 million over the next four years.

"The best cities in the world don't stop when the sun goes down – and neither does Melbourne," Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said on Saturday.

The Night Network trial, one of Labor's key commitments ahead of the 2014 state election, had been due to end on June 30.

Since its inception at the start of last year, more than two million trips have been taken on the service, which provides trains running every hour from Flinders Street on all metropolitan lines, as well as trams and buses running every 30 minutes on key routes.

Coaches also leave Southern Cross station at 2:00am, bound for Bendigo, Ballarat, Traralgon, Seymour and Geelong.

The government's figures show that 20 per cent of the people using Night Network are shift workers. The rest are locals and visitors making the most of Melbourne's booming night life.

But while the all-night weekend transport trial has been successful, it was revealed last year that the need for extra security saw its original budget blow out from $50 million to $86.3 million.

The trial was extended for six months to assess how commuters used all-night services in different seasons and during major events, including the Spring Racing Carnival, football finals and the festive season.

Passenger feedback and movement patterns are now being analysed by Public Transport Victoria to improve the service beyond June 30.

Making the announcement with hospitality and healthcare workers on Saturday morning, Ms Allan said the Night Network would continue to provide safe, easy and affordable ways to get home.

"Night Network is part of what keeps Melbourne the world's most liveable city, and it's here to stay," she said.

However, Opposition leader Matthew Guy said that while all night public transport was a "fantastic idea" it did not come with protective services officers on all stations, which could make commuters vulnerable to crime.

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