Friday, 1 March 2013
Olympic Park open for business
"Olympic Park open for business already?" I hear you say, but this one is. I'm in the MELBOURNE Olympic Park.
The Olympics came here in 1956. Sports venues are still clustered around the former Olympic Park area although mostly with more modern structures. This area continues to develop and represents what the Olympic legacy can look like over 50 years later.
I'm visiting this beautiful city as I am speaking at the Australian Roads Conference 2013. What better way to cure the jetlag than spending this afternoon getting orientated around its public transport.
Melbourne still has an extensive tram network - continuously since 1884 if you include the horse tram era. Indeed it is (depending on what you measure) the largest network in the world. There are 487 trams in the fleet - the most modern ones from France and Germany whilst a dozen of the W-class fleet (which numbered about 750 in their heyday and date back to 1923) operate on the city circular service.
Public Transport Victoria (PVT) is the equivalent of TfL here and it similarly outsources its requirements to the private sector. There are about 50 bus operators and a fairly recent change in the operator for the trams.
After a long gestation period Melbourne also has its Oyster. It has Myki which has replaced all the 10-trip and season ticket Metcard system and is extensively used now. Shortly it will be valid on other longer distance rail services too.
And as for Friday's conference everyone here is wanting to learn more about how we delivered the Olympic Games and what lessons there are for road space management generally not just for big events. The experience was invaluable. It will help us in London and many other cities as well.
For my part I'm looking forward to meeting Tom Vanderbilt - the author of the world-acclaimed book on Traffic - who follows me on the platform at the conference. His contribution should be very interesting indeed.