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The Victorian Government announces "the biggest timetable change since the opening of the City Loop" and measures to encourage passengers back onto the train network.
"This is the biggest timetable change since the opening of the City Loop, and the extra services give passengers in Melbourne and regional Victoria more options to get them where they need to go," Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said.
The new timetable has added new services to metropolitan and regional train lines throughout the day, and most metro train lines will have more frequent services outside of peak times, Mr Carroll's office said in a statement.
The Ballarat line will see an additional 125 services every week.
Victorian Shadow Minister for Public Transport David Davis said that the changes mean it will take passengers "longer than ever before" to get to and from their destination.
"Daniel Andrews calls it 'additional train services' but people on the key Cranbourne and Pakenham Lines are facing slower services and others are forced to change trains — it's a con job," Mr Davis said.
The changes meant metro train services were "now slower and less direct" for many commuters, he said.
Data on network congestion to give 'informed choice' to passengersThe Victorian Government also announced the launch of RideSpace, an online tool providing current and predicted information about how busy trains, stations and platforms would be for passengers.
"It is colour-coded and it gives you the data to say whether or not the platform or the train station is very busy, in red or very quiet in green," Mr Carroll said.
The initiative is intended to support public health settings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will allow passengers to make an "informed choice" about which mode of public transport to catch, Mr Carroll said.
"We have married up the Myki data with the 450 additional services as well as the existing timetable to really give passengers all the information they need in a COVID-normal," he added.
He said the train system was "as clean as a whistle" because of extra cleaning being done.
The Government is keen to get Victorians back on public transport.(ABC Radio Melbourne: Nicole Mills)Passengers will also receive a 30 per cent fare discount when travelling outside of peak periods for the next three months as a measure to encourage Victorians to return to public transport.
Discounts will apply for those travelling between 9.30am and 4pm or after 7pm on weekdays.
"More services, more information in the passengers' hands, discounts — it is really a good time to get back on the public transport network," Mr Carroll said.
The Victorian Government says train services are currently running at around 40 per cent of passenger capacity, with the goal of reaching 75 to 80 per cent.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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