The addition of 10 off-peak V/Line services on the Traralgon line will not address commuter frustrations, according to the Gippsland V/Line Users Group.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan announced on Monday an 11pm Southern Cross to Traralgon service and a 8.21pm Traralgon to Southern Cross train would operate each weekday from 29 January, 2017.
Gippsland V/Line Users Group convener Natalie Thorne welcomed the flexibility of the late service, but said it was only part of a “long list of needs” Gippsland had for its service, which included overcrowding and delays.
“We’ve been asking for a long time for an additional peak service so we have a proper express train for regular commuters and to also relieve overcrowding on trains during all peak periods,” Ms Thorne said.
She said the GVUG had also been contacted by commuters venting frustrations the additional services only operate as far east as Traralgon.
“People are telling the users group that it seems like Bairnsdale, everyone beyond Traralgon, is being left out and forgotten,” Ms Thorne said.
Ms Allan said while she appreciated the growing demand for peak services the number of trains available meant peak services were at capacity.
“But we do have capacity to run additional off peak services, and for people who use the trains regularly, or indeed not as regularly, there is greater demand for people to see off-peak services, particularly in the evening,” she said.
Ms Allen said the government had recently ordered 48 new regional carriages, which would enable it to increase local services in the future, “in line with our long-term plan to run five services a day to Bairnsdale as outlined in the Regional Network Development Plan”.
Member for Morwell Russell Northe said Gippsland commuters would not “knock back” any additional services, however, “what is urgently and desperately required is new peak services”.
Mr Northe said other additional V/Line services announced for other parts of the state included peak times and it “defied logic” that Gippsland missed out.
“Gippsland is one of the worst performing lines in terms of punctuality and capacity.. .these new services may address very slightly the capacity issues but it’s those peak services that are the most problematic,” he said.
Ms Allan said another timetable change was scheduled for mid-next year and would include further regional services.
The new train timetables will be available for download from Monday at ptv.vic.gov.au