Safety ‘breached’ on V/Line trains

The safe number of total passengers allowed on V/Line services was breached 55 times over a six-month period on the Traralgon service in the first half of 2013. 

According to data obtained under Freedom of Information and released by the opposition government, the amount of Traralgon passengers exceeded the number of available seats on 238 occasions over the same period.

Acting opposition public transport spokesperson Richard Wynne said the date showed every single line on the V/Line network breached seating capacity and nearly all exceeded total passenger load permitted limits to dangerous levels.

The data also showed the Bairnsdale service exceeded the safety threshold 19 times in the period between January and March before the service’s temporary closure, while passengers exceeded seating availability on 33 occasions during the same period.

“We have saturation overcrowding on the V/Line network where passengers are forced to stand in aisles, sit on floors and block doorways and the Napthine Government’s poor management of regional services is to blame,” Mr Wynne said.

A V/Line spokesperson said while peak services on average were around 80 per cent full across the network, the number of people on train services had raised no safety issues.

“The standards are more of a customer comfort indicator, but more importantly they help V/Line and Public Transport Victoria to plan timetables that best meet demand,” the spokesperson said.

“Generally it is only a few trains where we see customers regularly standing. When there are more customers than seats, it is rare for a customer to stand for the entire journey.”