Councillor Richard Foster claims an all-night train service would reduce crime and benefit the economy. Photo: Craig Sillitoe
Melbourne's public transport would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week under a proposal a Melbourne city councillor hopes the state government will adopt.
Cr Richard Foster has called on Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and transport portfolio chair Cathy Oke to lobby Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder to introduce all-night public transport to the city, arguing it would reduce crime and benefit the economy.
"We're trying to create a 24-hour international city and it's pretty hard to do that if you're not offering 24-hour public transport as well," Cr Foster said. "It's certainly practical, it's what the public has been calling for for some time, [and] if we seriously want to offer an international city that is safe and vibrant you've got to have an international standard public transport service."
Melbourne's trains and trams run roughly between 4.30am and 1am.
But the Napthine government was quick to hose down the proposal, arguing all-night services would prevent maintenance work that is needed to run peak-hour services efficiently.
"The government has introduced more than 1000 new train services to the metro rail network each week," a spokeswoman said. "The government's commitment is to the reliability and availability of services to passengers, and results are heading in the right direction.
"Achieving those outcomes requires maintenance on the network, both trains and tracks, overnight. Extending overnight services would compromise the reliability and punctuality of peak services."
In a motion to be considered on Tuesday, Cr Foster will argue the change would make the city safer and reduce crime.
At a recent alcohol and other drugs roundtable it was noted "that people continually walk around the city and sleep in public car parking facilities until the commencement of the train and tram services the following day", the motion says.
"At this roundtable, the police also commented that if these people 'aren't an offender, then they are a victim'."
Cr Foster said he expected that the state government would cover the cost of running all-night services, but that wider economic benefits would flow.
"Ultimately it's going to be a state government responsibility but the economic benefits that will come from operating a service like that are going to flow back in to the economy," he said.