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Sick passengers are delaying more than 12 services a day on Melbourne's train network, holding up thousands of commuters each year.
Illness is one of the leading causes of trains running late and there are concerns the issue will only get worse as services become more crowded in peak hours.
There have been 185 ill passengers so far this year, according to Metro, leading to delays on 2038 services across the network.
That averages to 12 services impacted per day, higher than last year when there were 3238 trains delayed by 400 sick commuters. The statistics do not include other incidents at stations such as slips, trips and falls.
The most common illnesses on trains are fainting, seizures and injuries sustained from falling over, as well as more serious illnesses such as heart attacks and pre-existing conditions.
The biggest spike in passenger illness comes in the colder months between March and June.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said trains were delayed to ensure a passenger is looked after until paramedics arrive.
"While Metro has paramedics on duty in peak hour, they can't be at every station," he said.
"One option that should be explored is to provide basic first aid training for station staff, enabling them to assist passengers off the train in less serious cases."
Making more first aid available would free drivers from waiting for ambulances, he said, which was another reason to put staff back on every station across the network.
A Metro spokeswoman said there were dedicated first aid responders located at busy stations during the morning and afternoon peak, including all City Loop stations, Richmond, Clifton Hill, North Melbourne, Caulfield and Box Hill.
There were three cases of sick passengers on Monday delaying trains during the morning rush. One of those involved an ill passenger on the Belgrave line at Parliament, which stopped an 8.14am train for 10 minutes and delayed eight other services.
A second incident happened on a 8.30am Pakenham train, also at Parliament. The driver was delayed by eight minutes and held up another 15 trains.
Other reasons for delays include police interventions, trespassers, vandals and people being hit by trains. In an interview with[font=inherit] [/font]The Age in April, Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala said ill passengers would "only have a bigger impact as trains get more crowded".
Mr Bowen said overcrowding during peak hours could also be a factor on hot days when some passengers were at risk of fainting.
On its website, Metro asks that passengers who are feeling unwell not to get on board a train. Those who already on a train should exit and alert a Metro employee.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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