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Poor patronage will end the expanded timetable trial of AvonLink regional services in Western Australia, but the McGowan Government will provide funds to keep once-daily return services from Northam and three return services per week to Merredin.
The AvonLink train service only had funding to run until June 30, 2017.
A trial began in December 2014 to roughly triple the number of Midland-Toodyay-Northam trips on offer on the service.
However, the service boost only resulted in a small increase in passenger numbers, with an average AvonLink train only at 15% occupancy – down from 21% before the trial – or the equivalent of just 16 passengers per train.
Rather than discontinue AvonLink services entirely, the McGowan Government has announced $800,000 in funding to keep one return service to Northam each day, and three Merredin return services throughout the week.
“The State Government is very supportive of public transport, in regional WA as well as the greater metropolitan area,” transport minister Rita Saffioti said.
“I’m glad we could continue to fund AvonLink and we will be engaging with relevant stakeholders in tourism, ageing and local shires to discuss opportunities to optimise the train service.
“The previous government had not funded AvonLink beyond June 30, meaning we had to find an additional $800,000 to retain the service.
“I would like to thank the community representatives involved with the AvonLink working group and the supporter groups over the last three years who supported the service.”
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