By Brendan Paholski

There aren’t any buskers in parts of the CBD any more. Wow! The Melbourne City Council has put a trial ban in place on Swanston street, from Flinders Lane to La trobe Street. It’s quiet now, all we hear is the hubbub of traffic and people traversing the footpath. No longer does music blare from the Bourke street Mall. And I can actually hear myself think!

The buskers don’t like it. They claim they need amplification because of the noise of trams along Swanston street. (I could quibble about the definition of “busker” here, but I digress)

Note though that a new threat awaits the unwary traveller. . Forget the (now not so loud) noise from Arthur Daley’s.   Forget the fact that at some railway stations (Parliament for instance) music follows  you down  (or up) the escalators to the platforms. And don’t start me on noisy mobile phone conversations one hears from half a carriage away.

No, yet another insidious  beast  lurks, desparate foe your attention. It’s the audio-visual advertsing screen, poised in inform, possibly entertain but ultimately annoy you, like a buzzing mosquito or stone in your shoe.

Every time a passenger uses Melbourne Central, Flagstaff or Parliament stations, their ears are assailed by loud advertising for Sky News or Flight Centre. And not content with just one advertisement for a product or service, the ad might be rescreened. Directly after, for the same product or service.  . Aggghhhhh. Makes me  feel I’m in some kind of continuous aural loop, destined never to escape while I await my train. Is there no solution, other than to catch my train (or another on a different line) to a station such as Richmond to escape the incessant ads.

Thankfully there are no plans to put these audio-visual obscenities anywhere else. Yet.

It is difficult to see how any campaign to encourage train use in Melbourne could ever succeed when potential passengers’ ears are assaulted by intrusive commercials while  they wait for an Upfield line train or a stopping all stations to Alemein.

According to AC/DC, rock and roll ain’t noise pollution, however audio advertising on City Loop railway stations just might be for a longsuffering  commuter and pedestrian.


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