Good to know. But hey, as the guide’s tagline says, “Something’s Gotta Win.”
Metro Trains Melbourne, which operates the Australia city’s trains under a franchise from the municipal government, explains the guide as “one part advice for novice train-travelling race-goers and two parts uninformed commentary for the uninformed punter.” The publication, which is being handed out on train platforms, is of a piece with Metro’s open approach to running a transit authority. For example, Metro publishes daily statistics on its gorgeous website on how punctually the trains are running, and regular riders are awarded free tickets when trains are egregiously late or unreliable.
But while other transit agencies around the world use the customer attention they command in more serious, high-minded ways — New York City has a “Poetry in Motion” program modeled off London’s “Poems on the Underground” scheme — Melbourne here is mostly just having fun. How might the horse named Royal Empire fare in its Race 7? “Starting to hit its stride again after a few rough decades,” reads the Aussie guide. “Mainly because we all secretly love Harry.”
“The Uniformed Guide” was created for Metro Trains Melbourne by McCann Melbourne, the same creative agency that put together a well-circulated video PSA aimed at keeping young people safe around trains, called “Dumb Ways to Die.”
Nancy Scola is a Washington, DC-based journalist whose work tends to focus on the intersections of technology, politics, and public policy. Shortly after returning from Havana she started as a tech reporter at POLITICO.