Public Condemn Melbourne Central Exit Closure

96% of Melbourne Central station users don’t want the popular Swanston Street exit to close, according to a survey published by the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA). The PTUA says that there is overwhelming opposition to Melbourne Central’s plan to close the exit and divert train users through the middle of the centre starting on November 5th.

The PTUA has been running the survey through their web site, advertised on brochures distributed outside Melbourne Central.

Many station users expressed surprise when told of the closure. “People are outraged at this change”, said PTUA president Daniel Bowen. “Thousands use the Swanston Street exit to get from the trains to RMIT, the State Library, nearby offices, and by tram to Carlton and Melbourne University. Melbourne Central want them to spend money in their shops along the way.”

Mr Bowen said Melbourne Central’s estimate of an additional 55 seconds travel time was flawed because it assumed that a third of people going to Swanston Street would use other exits, when for many going via Swanston Street was most convenient. “But even if we take this optimistic figure, that’s almost a minute each way, or two minutes a day for most people”, he said. “People are telling us through comments left on our survey form and through talking to them the station entrance that they are quite rightly angered by that.”

“People don’t want their time wasted – they don’t want to be forced to battle through a shopping centre when they’re trying to hurry to work or uni or to get home for dinner”, concluded Mr Bowen.

Survey Details

Survey carried out on PTUA web site at between 16th October and 30th October 2003. Responses were anonymous, but were vetted for duplicate computers (IP addresses) to prevent fraud.

Question asked: Are you happy with Melbourne Central’s plans to remove direct access between the station and Swanston Street, and instead force people to detour halfway through the shopping centre?

Total 151 responses

Unhappy with changes: 146 (96.7%)

Happy with changes: 5 (3.3%)

Sample of comments left by Melbourne Central users:

That is an insane idea! How utterly ridiculous. – Gail Miller

The co-location of a commuter rail station and a shopping center is coincidental. Forcing people to go through one to get to the other is just stupid. – Donald Strong

People responsible for desining and approving these plans (this includes P. Batchelor) obviously have no idea what it is like to use public transport in peak hour – this new design is ridiculous and a potential hazard during evacuation procedures! – Anonymous

This will be an added security/safety problem for students and vulnerable adults. It will also increase the difficulties for the frail and infirm and those with physical handicaps. Commercial interests should not be driving direct and easy access to LaTrobe and Swanston Street. – Anonymous

The system currently works perfectly. To the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ – Mark Johnson

Looks like the new way through the shops will be even HARDER for people such as me who use powerchairs (electric wheelchairs) and need to go and find, then wait for, the lifts. – Ricky Buchanan

Those plans are terrible! What happens to all the uni students for Melbourne uni and RMIT who all arrive at once for their 9am lectures. Obviously Lend Lease haven’t viewed the escalators during rush hour. The DOI and M>Train should not be allowing this to happen – Ross Thomson

I thought they were trying to make public transport more attractive to users, and not drive people away. This would demonstrates otherwise. – Anonymous

Melbourne Central FAQ, 2003