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THE new Geelong train timetable and route to Melbourne is yet to deliver the punctual services passengers were promised.
V/Line’s performance data shows only 85.2 per cent of trains on the Geelong line were “on time” in June, the equal-worst monthly punctuality result since June last year.
The rail service aims to provide 92 per cent of trains on time, with any train that reaches its destination within six minutes of its scheduled arrival considered to have fulfilled that aim.
The June figures are the first to account for the new timetable, which has trains using a different route to Melbourne suburban trains on the vaunted Regional Rail Link.
While Paul Westcott, of the Public Transport Users Association, said the results had so far underwhelmed passengers, V/Line attributed the substandard performance to teething issues.
“It’s very disappointing because, if nothing else, the Regional Rail Link promised more reliability,” Mr Westcott said.
“We were told it may not necessarily be quicker, but it would be more reliable and more punctual, but in the first three weeks that hasn’t been the experience.”
V/Line’s Ebony Jordan said the rail authority had met its reliability target (96 per cent), delivering 97.7 per cent of the train services that were timetabled.
“The Regional Rail Link has been the biggest change to the V/Line network in about 10 years and naturally it takes a few weeks for all new timetables to bed down,” Ms Jordan said.
“Some of the reasons for delays on the Geelong line last month included track faults and higher than normal customer numbers. We’re now stopping at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit for the first time and have welcomed thousands of new customers onto our services so there have been occasions when we’ve stopped at stations longer than usual.”
Mr Westcott and the State Opposition said overcrowding had been a common complaint since the RRL opened.
“Geelong peak-hour passengers are particularly annoyed,” Mr Westcott said.
Liberal regional transport spokesman Simon Ramsay said the early days of the RRL had been a “shambles” because of insufficient carriages to handle the increased patronage.
“Both Geelong and Ballarat peak-hour services are overcrowded and face significant delays,” Mr Ramsay said.
“PTV and V/Line have been swapping carriages over the two lines to reduce overcrowding.”
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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