I think I might have out-done myself this time.
Last month I represented the PTUA at a senate hearing into Commonwealth investment in public transport.
During questions, the topic of public transport for special events came up, and as I had the night before been to such an event, I drew on that personal experience in one of my answers, all of which naturally has gone into the hearing record*.
CHAIR [Senator Glenn Sterle] — I find it absolutely amazing — in fact, I find it gobsmacking — that you can exit the MCG with 100,000 people and within an hour it is a ghost town.
Mr Bowen — That is right. The money has been put into public transport to make it work extremely well for special events — big sporting events, concerts and all those sorts of things that Melbourne does really well. To give an example, I went to a concert after the grand prix last night at Albert Park. That was a huge crowd.
CHAIR — How were The Who?
Mr Bowen — I do like The Who. I am not so keen on the racing cars but I like the music, so I went for that. The crowd all, after the concert, swarmed out of Albert Park. They were cleared very quickly out from the tram stops surrounding Albert Park. A tram, again, can carry up to 200 people. That moves crowds not quite as well as heavy rail but certainly very quickly. You can just imagine the nightmare if they allowed parking there — the space it would take up and the time it would take to get those people out. Those special tram services moved people away from Albert Park very quickly, but they quickly broke down, so to speak, a few kilometres out. The special services provided were really good, but for people going a bit beyond where the special services go — out to the suburbs, and in my own case I was heading back out to Malvern to catch a train home — there were no special services at all. The big crowds were certainly taken away from Albert Park but they did not get all the way home, and they had long waits ahead of them, in some cases, to get all the way home. Melbourne public transport does clear crowds very well but, again, the lack of a complete cohesive network running at all times of day means that it does fail in some cases.
— Proof Committee Hansard — Senate: Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport — Investment of Commonwealth and state funds in public passenger transport — Monday 30th March, Melbourne
It’s like blogging… via Hansard.
- *The transcript, just released, is still in draft form, and contains some minor errors.
- Channel 7 story from the day of the hearing.