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City bustle returns to Melbourne and Sydney – largely thanks to weekends and Taylor Swift

The pre-pandemic hustle and bustle of the central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne is returning, and in Melbourne’s case it’s busier than it’s been for nearly a decade.

But the weekend crowds appear to be doing most of the heavy lifting.

Near Melbourne’s town hall, the average general pedestrian activity is at the highest it has been since 2015, and two-and-a-half times higher than it was in 2020, according to data from the City of Melbourne.

Sydney’s CBD has almost returned to full health, according to the most recent data, but it has been healing in a different shape.

The weekly average number of people heading into the city on Sundays in December was at 137% above pre-pandemic levels, outperforming weekdays for recovery, according to the City of Sydney.

Meanwhile, the weekly average number for December was back to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, with Tuesdays and Fridays the weekdays with the strongest comeback at 81%

A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said there were still people choosing to work from home rather than travelling to the office in the city.

According to our recent community wellbeing survey, 72% of employed residents surveyed can work from home. Of these, more than half work from home two or three days per week, while one-fifth do so one day a week,” the spokesperson said.

In Melbourne, the sensors that capture pedestrian numbers across the city have seen numbers grow year-on-year since the pandemic.

The biggest increase has been recorded at Melbourne Central and Southern Cross stations, up by 135% and 162% respectively since 2020.

“We’ve had a lot more tourists and people coming out to the city, which is brilliant, but we haven’t see our regular workforce come back as much during the week, which is disappointing,” said David Malaspina, the owner of Pellegrini’s espresso bar on Melbourne’s Bourke Street.

“It seems like Thursdays are our new Fridays though because more people seem to work from home on Fridays now.



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