New train times slow trip with punctuality at lowest level

PUNCTUALITY fell sharply on the Ballarat line following the introduction of the new train timetable in November, V/Line figures show.

Punctuality dropped to its lowest level for the year in December, when 83.8 per cent of services arrived on time to five minutes and 59 seconds.

State Member for Ballarat West Sharon Knight said she had seen more complaints about train services running late since the new timetable’s introduction.

On Ms Knight’s lateagain.com.au website, one commuter said three friends had moved to Melbourne because they were over the constant delays and timetable blowouts.

Another commented that the timetable changes had resulted in “a gross erosion of the service levels for Ballarat with now 50 minute gap in key peak hour services, severely limiting options for getting to Melbourne”.

Calling on the state government to focus on the punctuality of Ballarat trains, Ms Knight said the people bearing the brunt of delayed services were people who caught the train day-in and day-out.

“Commuters on the Ballarat line want to get to work, study or to appointments in Melbourne on time and they want to get home afterwards without being delayed,” she said.

V/Line spokesperson Claire Steele said the main cause of delays was congestion in the metropolitan network.

“That’s why the Regional Rail Link is so welcome,” she said.

“Regional Rail Link, when it’s completed, gives us that dedicated track into Melbourne.”

Ms Steele said Ballarat was V/Line’s best performing line, often meeting their target of 92 per cent of services arriving on time to five minutes and 59 seconds.

She said the decline in performance for December could have been due to the effect of hot weather.

“When the weather gets to 36 degrees we have to slow down our trains,” she said.

rachel.afflick@thecourier.com.au

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