NYE Transport Totally Inadequate

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has hit out at what it describes as totally inadequate plans for New Year’s Eve public transport services.

“We would love to tell people they can rely on public transport to get them home after the fireworks”, said PTUA president Daniel Bowen. “But we know from past years many people will struggle to board overcrowded trams and will be left to fend for scarce taxis. The Bracks Government is clearly not serious about providing adequate public transport for New Year’s celebrations”.

Most tram routes will only have 4 trams leaving the city at 20 minute intervals, and many train lines will only get two services after the fireworks finish.

The City of Melbourne estimates that 300,000 people will be in Melbourne for the fireworks – around five times more people than a typical MCG crowd. The PTUA believes intensive, frequent extra services are required after the fireworks, similar to those used to shift MCG crowds, and that services should run later into the night to allow people to enjoy themselves for longer after the fireworks. Even if all scheduled services were used to capacity, the PTUA calculates that less 1 in 5 people in the city could use public transport to get home.

“Moving big crowds is what public transport should be best at. The public transport operators know how to do this – they do it every year for the Grand Prix, cricket and football. It’s not rocket science. We need intensive frequent services on every route out of the CBD to get people home”, said Mr Bowen.

Perth, Adelaide and Sydney are running trains all night. Sydney is running all major bus routes all night and Adelaide has free public transport after midnight aimed at encouraging people not to drink and drive. The starkest contrast comes at 2am, when Melbourne will have just 13 premium ticket Nightrider routes operating, while Brisbane will have 51 routes, Perth will have 54 routes, and Adelaide will have 79 routes running from the city.

“Melbourne’s New Year’s Eve public transport is a complete joke when compared to other Australian cities”, said Mr Bowen. “Cities with a third of Melbourne’s population and without the concerts and fireworks that attract hundreds of thousands get a far better service. Why does Melbourne deserves such a poor service?”

* * *

Summary of Public Transport in Major Australian Cities on New Years Eve 2003

  Melbourne Perth Adelaide Brisbane Sydney
Routes operating 15 4 5 6 21
Average last train 1am All night All night 2:10am All night
Average Frequency 20-30 minutes 15 minutes until 3am, then hourly 30mins until 3am, then hourly 30 mins 5-15 minutes until 3am
Routes operating 24   1   1
Last tram 1:30am   All night   All night
Frequency 20 minutes   10-15 minutes until 4:30am, then 30mins   15 minutes or better
Routes operating 13 (NightRider) 50 73 48 All major routes (100+)
Average last bus 4:30am 2am (some 3am) 4am, many all night 3:30am All night
Average Frequency 30 mins 60 mins 60 mins 30-60 mins (not stated)
Routes operating   1   3 4
Average Last ferry   12:45am   3-4am 2:20am
Average Frequency   30 mins   (not stated) 30 mins
Total routes operating at 2am 13 54 79 51 All major bus, train and tram routes (100+)
Fares Normal fares, except NightRider Premium $6 fare. Normal fares Free after midnight Normal fares, Ferries free after midnight. Normal fares or $6/$3 special all night bus fare


Transperth holiday timetable information:


Adelaide TransMetro information:


Brisbane train information:


Brisbane bus and ferry information:


Sydney information:


Melbourne New Years Eve public transport capacity

Mode Total services Average Vehicle capacity Service capacity
M>Tram 68 150 10,200
Yarra Trams 40 150 6,000
M>Train 16 1300 20,800
Connex 13 1300 16,900
NightRider buses 85 80 6,800
Total 222   60,700
Expected crowd (City of Melbourne): 300,000
Public Transport max share: 20%


  • Includes services leaving the CBD after 12:20am
  • Assumes mostly B, Citadis and Combino class trams used (though in previous years we know many Z class trams were used)
  • All NightRider routes leave at 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30am
  • Extra NightRider services to Dandenong at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30am, and Eltham at 5:30am.