Crowds swell to half a million for White Night
With White Night crowds packing Melbourne's CBD on Saturday, the journey home for many was a bit of a crush, despite public transport operating through the night. Nine News.PT1M11S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-33bu4 620 349 February 24, 2014
Future White Night festivals could begin on a Friday night to help more people, particularly families, enjoy the event, Premier Denis Napthine says.
While delighted with the event and the more than half a million people who attended, he conceded future events would need to look at ways to improve getting around the festival easier.
There have been complaints about accessibility to and from the festival as well as managing the crowds on the streets.
Melbourne's White Night
Illuminations on Princes Bridge. Photo by James Boddington
The Public Transport Users Association has already called for a doubling of public transport on White Night, saying it brought more than 500,000 into the city — nearly as many people as a morning peak or New Year's Eve.
'There is no doubt the issue of crowding around Flinders Street was an issue, so we need to manage the public transport better, spread people out, opening more stations for longer hours," Dr Napthine said.
He also suggested designated walkways and safe areas.
"There are some issues we will look to address in terms of the better movement of people and also better management of transport associated with White Night," he said.
The Premier said splitting the festival over two nights or more was already being looked at, including a Friday night preview featuring installations.
"[We could] have it perhaps as a family night, as a preview night to provide a better environment for young children and families," he said.
Dr Napthine said that if re-elected, his government would make the festival "even bigger".
"There is no doubt that White Night is here to stay. We will continue to grow White Night but we will also look at opportunities to expand the footprint that is taken up by White Night."