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Train users unwilling to arrive late to their Bendigo school or workplace on Tuesday were forced to find an alternative means of transport, with the Melbourne Cup public holiday affecting timetables in regional Victoria.
A Saturday timetable was put into place for V/Line services on Tuesday, meaning no train arrived in Bendigo before 9.13am – later than the starttime at most schools and workplaces.
It was a move Public Transport User Association regional spokesman Paul Westcott called “crazy” and proof state-run essential services were city-centric.
“Too often, we're affected by this idea that Victoria is Melbourne, and Melbourne is Victoria,” Mr Westcott said.
“This is a clear example of where that falls down.”
A Geelong resident, Mr Westcott said the same problem occurred there too; the state’s second biggest city observed the Geelong Cup holiday two weeks ago, not Melbourne Cup Day.
The problem would grow in coming years, he said, as demand for train services increased and regional populations grew.
A V/Line spokesperson said passenger numbers and customer feedback were taken into account when planning for public holidays, including the first Tuesday in November.
"Patronage is significantly reduced on public holidays, including on Melbourne Cup Day, as many of our passengers do not need to travel to and from work in Melbourne,” a spokesperson said.
Saturday or Sunday timetables operate on the V/Line network across all Victorian public holidays, with timetable changes communicated online and at stations.
Victorian transport minister Jacinta Allan on Tuesday asked the chief executive officer of V/Line to review its Melbourne Cup day practices for next year.
It is understood V/Line contacted schools in Bendigo about the timetable change so families could make alternative arrangements, or the school could expect students to arrive after commencement time.
No VCE exams were scheduled today because of the public holiday.
This article first appeared on www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au
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