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A SURVEY by transport advocate RACV has confirmed that passengers on Warrnambool trains are unhappy with the service. Only 10 per cent of people who participated in the mid-year questionnaire said they were satisfied with the trains.
Thirteen per cent also complained about difficulty in finding a park at the railway station.
Release of the survey coincided with the RACV’s announcement yesterday it had included Warrnambool among regional growth cities to be surveyed on overall transport needs.
South-west residents will have until October 31 to comment on what they see as key needs for transport infrastructure upgrades.
Warrnambool’s mayor Michael Neoh said the rail survey results reaffirmed what he had heard from passengers over many months.
He again called for more services and upgraded rolling stock to replace carriages which are some of the oldest in Victoria.
“There have been lots of excuses by governments in the past, but the time has come for new rolling stock and more services on the Warrnambool line,” he told The Standard.
“If mid-morning and a mid-afternoon services were added it would greatly assist passengers from as far as Mount Gambier, who have to get up at a ridiculously-early hour to catch the morning train to Melbourne.
“Maybe extra services could be run between Warrnambool and Geelong, or there could be a direct service straight through without many stops.”
Cr Neoh said frequent complaints were about having to use buses instead of trains and passengers with tickets having to stand because of overcrowding between Melbourne and Geelong.
RACV manager for public transport and mobility, Thanuja Gunatillake, said survey results had been conveyed to the government and rail operators.
“We had 4500 responses statewide, with main complaints of trains being too slow, overcrowding, infrequent services and car parking,” she said yesterday.
“Population growth in regional areas will increase demand for transport services.
“We want to find out the needs and use that information as our policy platform in the lead-up to next year’s state elections.
“Another recent survey in the outer metropolitan area showed transport had not kept pace with population growth.
“We want to make sure regional centres don’t end up in the same position.”Engineers will visit the organisation’s Warrnambool office on October 23 to speak with residents. Warrnambool City Council, community groups and transport operators will also be consulted.
The survey is available on the RACV website or from its offices.
This article first appeared on www.standard.net.au
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