PTV and the ‘Model Commuters’ campaign

Over the weekend Public Transport Victoria launched a new education campaign titled ‘Model Commuters’, with the aim of promoting good behaviour on public transport. However the story behind it is long and twisted.

Screenshot of the PTV Model Commuters website

The government media release dated 17 May 2014 had the following to say:

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said the campaign features four distinct characters, each highlighting one simple thing commuters can do to make each other’s journey more comfortable.

“The four characters representing different types of behaviour are the Mover-overer, the Floor Bagger, the Quiet Talker and the Door Clearer,” Mr Mulder said.

“We’ve all been on a train, tram or bus when a fellow commuter has done something that has made our journey less enjoyable.

“With this education campaign four characters have been created to get the message across that we can all do something, no matter how small, to improve the way we go about catching public transport.

“It’s a friendly reminder to be mindful of your fellow passengers and put your bag on the floor, move over to the next seat, clear the doorway and speak quietly.”

The ‘Model Commuters’ education campaign is supported by a microsite that can be accessed at, where commuters can share their favourite model commuter via their social networks.

And the cost – $250,000 for the campaign, with the George Patterson Y&R agency being behind it.

The aborted launch

For me the odd thing isn’t the ‘Model Commuters’ campaign itself – but how it was prematurely launched in the week beginning February 10th, when posters for the campaign started to appear on tram stops around the Melbourne CBD.

Poster for the new PTV 'Model Commuters' campaign

A week after that, a number of brand and adverting blogs started to publicise the campaign.

Posters for the campaign also appeared on trams.

Poster for the new PTV 'Model Commuters' campaign

Those posters also mentioned a competition – “Vote for the next one at and you could win a yearly myki pass”:

'Vote for the next one at and you could win a yearly myki pass' message

An aborted release in early February and a cancelled competition to win a yearly myki pass – what is really going on with this Model Commuters campaign?


The domain name used for the campaign was presumably registered by Public Transport Victoria before the campaign was first launched, as the details were last modified in late February.

'Whois' data for the PTV Model Commuters website

In between the aborted February launch and the actual one in May, the domain was just a redirect to the main Public Transport Victoria website, as these Google Search results show.

Google search results for the PTV Model Commuters website

So who knows what the hell is going on!

Further reading

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9 Responses to “PTV and the ‘Model Commuters’ campaign”

  1. scott says:

    Another example of the nanny state.

    • Shocker says:

      And probably a waste of money because I doubt it will have any effect.

      That said I am happy with any initiative that encourages standing train passengers to actually move away from the doors and into the aisles … the number of times I am unable to get on to a train because people are jammed in like sardines near the doors, yet as I stand on the platform as it pulls away there is plenty of space in the aisles! Is this peculiar to Melbourne? Any way I see that the next generation of trains are going to have wider doors and reduced seating, according to this article:

      • Marcus Wong says:

        I do wonder if campaigns such as this ‘Model Commuter’ one actually have any impact – sometimes from gut feel only people already doing the right thing notice the adverts, and the people who don’t just ignore the message.

        • Scott Nicholas says:

          Why would you assume some positive advertising wouldn’t work Marcus? Isn’t it better than wallpaper government advertising in a space that is only trying to be a little different, entertaining and provide a positive sentiment within our public transport community.

          Research has proven this campaign managed to drum up a huge spike in PT etiquette since its launch. 54% of PT commuters that partook in the 425,000 participant survey admitted they had seen the campaign, liked it, and made them reevaluated several mannerisms during their ride. 27% said they already abide by these rules but enjoyed seeing a fresh approach to a PT campaign.

          So why so negative, Marcus? It’s just some colourful advertising.

  2. Charlotte says:

    you probably already know this but your blog got a mention in the herald sun!

  3. mich says:

    It will be interesting to see how this campaign works, in NSW they tried the opposite tack with the grub, the slob, the maggot, the skunk, the litterbug, etc.

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