Poor punctuality ‘no surprise’

Punctuality on the Gippsland train line has reached one of its worst monthly figures in the ongoing regional rail crisis.

The latest V/Line performance data, published on Friday, reported only 43.2 per cent of services were on time last month, down from 76.2 per cent in January 2016.

The numbers are also well below other regional counterparts.

Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Seymour lines ranged between 83.3 to 84.7 per cent punctuality.

Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the figures reflected the impact of recent wheel wear and boom gate-related disruptions on V/Line services.

“I know it’s been a difficult time for Gippsland commuters, but there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Ms Allan said.

“Next week, all but two Gippsland services will run as trains and by the middle of the year full services will be restored.”

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said he did not think anyone in the Latrobe Valley would be surprised by the “appalling” figures.

“Enough is enough – our community deserves better than the sub-standard services we’re getting under the Andrews Labor Government,” Mr Northe said.

Opposition spokesperson for Transport David Hodgett, who visited Gippsland for a Shadow Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, caught public transport to speak with Gippsland commuters.

Mr Hodgett said commuters spoke about sitting on the train for 20 to 30 minutes after Pakenham Station, waiting for the V/Line train to gain access to Metro tracks.

He also criticised the Labor Government for announcing new carriages for Melbourne Metro before addressing punctuality issues on the Gippsland line.

“It’s disgraceful, this is a trend, not a one off. The Gippsland services have been neglected for a long time,” he said.

Gippsland V/Line User Group spokeswoman Natalie Thorne said it was great the Minister recognised the region had borne the brunt of disruptions, but capacity and reliability issues needed to be addressed.

“Most trains aren’t running and we’re getting home 30 minutes or sometimes an hour late every day,” Ms Thorne said.

“She (Ms Allan) really hasn’t addressed why the trains are running so late and if it will be resolved when the VLocity trains run again.”

V/Line acknowledged a target of at least 96 per cent of scheduled services needed to run and an ‘on time’ target of 92 per cent.

Long distance services are measured ‘on time’ with a 10 minute and 59 second margin.