More than 500,000 people are expected to flock to Melbourne's CBD this evening for New Year's Eve fireworks.

The City of Melbourne has spent more than $2 million on the midnight show, which will launch fireworks from 22 firing sites across the city.

For those unable to make it to midnight, there will be a family-friendly show at 9:30pm (AEDT) at Yarra Park, near the MCG.

One of the big changes to this year's event will see the festivities divided between three main sites: Flagstaff Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Docklands.

Organisers hope spreading celebrations across the city will make it easier to manage crowds.

Public transport will be free from 6:00pm tonight.

The celebrations are an alcohol-free event, and police say they will not tolerate any antisocial behaviour, promising on-the-spot fines for drunk and disorderly conduct.

The State Government, meanwhile, is defending a decision to close Melbourne's city loop railway stations before midnight.

The closure of the Parliament, Flagstaff and Melbourne Central stations at 11:45pm means people will need to make their way to the Flinders Street or Southern Cross stations instead.

Acting Premier Peter Ryan says he is confident the system will still work well.

"The reason was taken through the department to ensure from a safety perspective, as well as from the best way of moving the travelling public out of Melbourne, that we have a focal point around Flinders Street to enable the people to be able to go there to travel from it, to be able to get to their homes," he said.

But Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton says it is a recipe for disaster.

"We now have these additional venues at Treasury Gardens and Flagstaff Gardens which are right adjacent to loop stations, and the people that go to those venues will be hiking through city streets in the small hours of the morning, possibly in a rather intoxicated state.

"It's not the best way to look out for people to strand them in the city and make them walk blocks and blocks. It's really not good enough."

 

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