Tuning out louts
July 21, 2006
AN annoyingly loud, brash and jaunty 400-year-old genre of music is being used to scare layabouts away from railway stations.
Train operator Connex is piping unpopular baroque music, which is notorious for tinny organs and recorders, to speakers at 41 problem train stations at night.
And the unorthodox lutes-against-louts approach is working.
Connex said the classical corrective had slashed the number of non-commuting youths loitering at its train stations.
The Hurstbridge, Lilydale, Belgrave and Pakenham lines, which have the worst reputation for loitering, also have the most "musical stations".
Stations get the music makeover if staff, passengers or police report recurring problems with people hanging about, Connex spokeswoman Kate De Clercq said.
"We have noticed a reduction in the amount of people -- not passengers -- who hang out at stations," said Ms De Clercq.
"And certainly, those who continue to loiter at stations don't stay anywhere near as long as they used to stay."
Station music is switched to "light rock" artists from Delta Goodrem to Billy Joel during the day.
"Light Rock contains 100 per cent well-known hits from the '70s, '80s, '90s and today," Ms De Clercq said.
The eastern half of the network has 90 per cent of the network's musical stations.
The Pakenham line has eight of the baroque bases and patrons of the last 12 stations on the Belgrave line and last eight on the Lilydale line have also had to face the music.
The music is piped to loop stations, Broadmeadows, Werribee, Footscray and Glen Waverley.
Advertisers are set to cash in with talking bus stops.
There is a plan for Melbourne bus shelters to blast ads for an FM radio breakfast show at passing foot traffic.