Local police are wondering if the 24-hour public transport Homesafe experiment next year will be good or bad for the CBD.
Sen-Sgt Paul Henry told a local safety and security committee on September 16 that police were using data modeling in an attempt to predict the outcome.
“The closest comparison we can come up with is White Night, but we really don’t know how it is going to play out,” he said.
From New Year’s Day, selected train, tram and bus routes will operate 24 hours on weekends.
The State Government was last year elected on a platform to trial the idea for 12 months. According to Transport
Minister Jacinta Allan, the trial is about giving non-city dwellers the opportunity to enjoy the CBD and get home safely.
“People who live in the outer suburbs and regional areas shouldn’t have to miss out on Melbourne’s vibrant night life. This trial is about giving them a safe and affordable way to get home,” Ms Allan said.
Sen-Sgt Henry said, while extra trains, trams and buses would help clear the city in the early hours of the morning, the services could theoretically also bring more people into the CBD.
“We don’t know whether we will have more or fewer people in the city between 1 am and 7 am,” Sen-Sgt Henry said.
He said, because Flinders Street Station would be the sole CBD train focus, it could also result in the east of the city becoming disproportionally crowded.
Flinders St could also become a major pedestrian thoroughfare as revelers from the west end of the city make their way to the station, he said.
Sen-Sgt Henry asked community representatives for their own thoughts about how the 24-hour transport might play out.
“We can try to predict what will happen, but we don’t really know,” he said.