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More than 1000 trains were cancelled in the last month in the worst performance since February, as commuters prepare to pay more to travel on them.
Metro cancelled 1165 trains in the past four weeks, including 78 on Monday and 331 services last week. That's about 2 per cent of all the trains scheduled to run in November.
It is the highest number of cancellations since February, when storms and flash flooding across Melbourne damaged trains and sent commuters into chaos, with 604 trains cancelled in just four days.
This comes a day after Victoria's minister for public transport Terry Mulder announced the Baillieu government would hike fares for trains, trams and buses from New Year's Day, with increases of as much as 8.6 per cent - the biggest rise in almost a decade and more than double the current rate of inflation.
Metro spokeswoman Geraldine Mitchell said more drivers were tied up in training sessions off the tracks than usual, which was putting pressure on train services.
"A high number of drivers are currently undergoing training on the new section of track between Epping and Keon Park, new facilities at Newport as well as new train systems," she said.
Most drivers were busy learning how to drive on the newly laid railway line, she said.
Others were being taught how to use the Baillieu government's digital train radio system, which was being installed in all trains to aid services reliability.
The system is designed to help train drivers communicate better with a central control unit and give passengers more immediate alerts.
Mr Mulder said in June the project, which he hoped would be in "partial use" by the end of next year, would cost up to $166.3 million.
Ms Mitchell said Metro was working to reduce the number of cancellations on a day-to-day basis. It was unknown when drivers would complete their training and be able to return to regular work.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union was not available for comment at the time of writing.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/train-cancellations-jump-as-fares-set-to-rise-20111207-1oi68.html
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