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COMMUTERS from Sunbury and Pakenham will be barred from boarding V/Line trains to and from Melbourne when a new timetable begins later this month.
Public Transport Victoria spokeswoman Jess Maguire confirmed Sunbury and Pakenham travellers would only be allowed to use Metro services once the new timetable begins.
“From June 21, customers using Sunbury and Pakenham stations will be required to board the more frequent Metro services when travelling to and from the city,” Ms Maguire said.
While V/Line trains will still stop at Sunbury, city-bound services will only drop passengers off and services from the CBD will only pick up those travelling towards Bendigo.
“This has long been the case for people using stations such as Sunshine, Broadmeadows and Dandenong,” she said.
“In a move to end confusing rules and inequity for some V/Line customers, a consistent pick-up and set-down policy will be introduced across the network.”
Since the Sunbury line was electrified in 2012, Sunbury commuters have been able to board either V/Line or Metro services to or from Melbourne.
This latest move has outraged many Sunbury commuters including Gillian Laughton, who told theLeader she was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
“I use Metro to get to St Albans anyway, but V/Line is much quicker and much more comfortable and it’s a choice which people value,” she said.
“There were a lot of people who didn’t want electrification to Sunbury in the first place.”
She said there were not enough express and peak services to Sunbury on Metro.
“I need to catch a 5.08pm train back to Sunbury (from St Albans) in the evening but if I miss it I need to wait 20 minutes even though there are two Watergardens-only trains in that period.”
Mrs Laughton has written to Sunbury state Labor MP Josh Bull to express her frustrations with the change.
PTV is yet to advise what penalties will apply for commuter flouting the rules.
They will advise passengers of changes in the coming weeks.
“There is a widespread awareness that V/Line trains are for regional customers who travel much longer distances on their daily commute to and from the city for work or study,” Ms Maguire said.
Electrification of the Sunbury line was a hotly contested issue prior to its confirmation in 2009.
It was sold as the “best of both worlds” by then Macedon Labor MP Joanne Duncan.
But Sunbury passengers boarding Bendigo-bound V/Line services since the electrification have frustrated commuters on the already crowded carriages, who have previously petitioned to have them barred from V/Line services.
The revised Public Transport Victoria timetable starts on June 21, coinciding with the opening of the Regional Rail Link.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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