When it comes to naming Melbourne’s new train stations, commuters are torn between the creative and the bleeding obvious.
A competition to name the Metro Tunnel’s five new underground stations has prompted a wide range of suggestions, from the culturally significant to the contemporary (hello ‘Smashed Avo’ station).
But Daniel Bowen from the Public Transport Users Association said that while it might be tempting to name the landmarks after celebrities or historic figures, the monikers should, most importantly, tell people where the stations are.
“These stations will be with us for decades, hopefully centuries to come, and it is important that the names help people trying to navigate their way around Melbourne,” he said.
“What we don’t want is another station name like Southern Cross, which is basically meaningless – it tells you nothing about where it is in the city.”
“Much easier for everyone concerned. Spencer Street was a better name than Southern Cross. Museum was better than Melbourne Central,” one reader said.
“Call it where it is geographically located rather than some gimmick name that will sooner or later be irrelevant,” another wrote.
“A geographical name makes life so much easier for all travellers including tourists. Revert Southern Cross to Spencer Street at the same time!!”
Another dismissed the usefulness of a public vote: “It will cost the taxpayers … and in the end the suits will name them: Arden, Parkville, Domain and Swanston.”
The stations will be built as part of the $11 billion Metro Tunnel project at Arden, Parkville, Domain and under Swanston Street in the CBD.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the public vote on Sunday, saying an advisory panel would assess suggestions and submit a shortlist of names for the government to consider to ensure “sensible names”.
Rules of the vote say names should be relevant to a specific location, be clear and easy to write, and no longer than 25 characters and three words (except for Aboriginal names).
Suggestions honouring people should ensure the person is held in high regard by the community and preferably connected to the location.
The rules also suggest avoiding the names of people who are still alive.
Many readers have suggested the names should pay tribute to Melbourne’s Aboriginal heritage.
“Would be good to see stations named after the traditional owners of the land to recognise that the land was taken from them,” Toby Jones said.
Reader Richard Knight took a more lighthearted approach: “Should just call them Australian slang words, imagine arriving at ‘You Beauty’.”
People have until October 22 to submit their station name suggestions at metrotunnel.vic.gov.au.
This article originally appeared online at The Age and in print, August 29.