THE Napthine government used timetable manipulation on the Ballarat train line to achieve performance, according to the new government.
The Courier has previously reported on small increases in the timetable which have left many confused by how travel times could balloon out in such a short period of time.
The timetabled service increased from 61 minutes in 2006 to 74 minutes currently for the popular 9am arrival in Melbourne train.
Since 2010, the service had increased by 10 of those 13 minutes, with the pattern replicated across the majority of journeys.
Bob Neilson, a spokesman for Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan, gave a clear reason for these changes.
“There is no doubt that the previous Liberal government built their performance on timetable manipulation,” he said. “The Andrews Labor government will look to return service times and reverse the deterioration in services Ballarat commuters experienced under the previous Liberal government.”
With five straight months of positive punctuality results for V/Line, commuters have been left wondering if this was a result of the consistent increases in the timetabled journey or thanks to the high-profile Regional Rail Link Project.
However, little is known about what further improvements will need to be done on the line to achieve a quicker service.
The much-talked-about 60-minute service seems to be dead and buried, with neither side of politics wanting to commit to the idea when The Courier asked in 2014.
A passing loop set to be constructed at Rowsley may be one of the most important aspects of the train line to decrease the number of delays and improve travel times.
The passing loop was a commitment from the Liberal Party as far back as 2010, however, construction is only getting under way this year.
These passing loops are seen by many in the rail industry as being keys to improving the service and cutting out delays for the growing number of people commuting on the Ballarat line.
Wendouree MP Sharon Knight said she would be meeting Ms Allan to look at ways to reduce the ballooning travel time to Melbourne.
However, Ms Knight would not commit to working towards the return of the Ballarat express service which was cut in 2011.
“What I am going to be doing is speaking to the public transport minister about reducing travel times because they got longer under the Liberal government,” she said.
“There could be a range of ways to do that – we need to look at all the different options.”