MELBOURNE'S extended trial of all-night weekend public transport will become permanent after Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan last week announced $193.2 million to continue the Night Network over the next four years.
Initially introduced as a one year trial from 1 January 2016, it was later extended for six months to end on 30 June 2017, with more than two million trips registered since the trial commenced.
The Night Network currently includes hourly train services on all metropolitan lines (excluding the Flemington and Stony Point lines), half hourly tram services on key routes and hourly to half-hourly bus services on selected routes. The regional centres of Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon are also provided with a coach service that departs Melbourne at 2am.
According to the government, more than 20 per cent of the people using Night Network are shift workers, and Ms Allan said the new funding to be provided in the 2017-18 State Budget 2017/18 will ensure the continuation of the safe, affordable and convenient service for late night commuters.
"Melbourne prides itself on being a 24-hour city. It's the only city in Australia that people from around the world can flock to and experience culture, sport, and nightlife – and get home on public transport – around the clock," the Minister said.
Night Network passenger feedback and movement patterns are currently being collated and analysed by Public Transport Victoria. This assessment will be considered over the coming months to improve services after 30 June.
Until then, all-night trains, trams, buses and regional coaches will continue to run as they are now.