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V/Line’s punctuality for the Ballarat rail line jumped almost two per cent for the month of April as the regional rail provider continues its slow recovery from months of debilitating delays and coach replacements.
Figures from Public Transport Victoria show that 86.6 per cent of services in April reached their destination ‘on time’, or within six minutes of scheduled arrival.
The new figures are up from 84.7 per cent for punctuality in March.
Across all lines, V/Line recorded a much improved 88.2 per cent of services on time in April, as opposed to just 82.4 per cent at the same time in March.
Crucially, the improved figures to do not take into account trains that were replaced by coaches, some of which do not reach their destination within the required limit to be considered ‘on time’.
V/Line’s goal for punctuality sits at 92 per cent.
The last time the service reached its punctuality goal was in May last year, on the eve of the introduction of the Regional Rail Link, when Ballarat trains reached their destination on schedule 95 per cent of the time.
Public Transport Users Association Paul Westcott said that while it is good to see less trains replaced with coaches as measures are made to restore a wheel fault to V/Line’s VLocity fleet, the latest punctuality numbers should be taken with a lick of salt.
“Rail replacement buses aren’t included in those figures and these figures bounce around,” he said.
“Taking into the individual month is meaningless, you have to take in the trends (over time).
“There’s relief of course that more and more services are trains not buses.”
V/Line’s latest interim timetable, adopted on April 26, has seen two more weekday services reinstated as trains, with 72 daily services now running as trains.
The 7.15pm Southern Cross to Wendouree service and 9.10pm Wendouree to Southern Cross service are no longer coaches.
The 3.37pm Southern Cross to Melton service will remain a coach.
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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