Melbourne’s Newbie Guide to Both Horse Racing and Trains

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Melbourne’s Newbie Guide to Both Horse Racing and Trains

The Australian city’s train authority is using humor to get first-time riders to the races safely.

In an attempt at making it both less intimidating and more fun for infrequent train-riders to attend the Derby and Cup horse races, Metro Trains Melbourne is out with what they’re calling “The Uniformed Guide.” The publication mashes together a legitimate race guide, information for public transportation newbies on train schedules and other transit details, and goofy insight for the newbie into the sport of horse racing. A horse by the name of “Red Cadeaux” for example, gets this description: “Red is the colour of danger and cadeaux is French for present. Careful, there could be a mime inside.”

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.

Tags: public transportationshared citymelbourne

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