Ballarat to Melbourne morning commute getting longer

THERE has been a gradual increase of 12 minutes to the morning commute for those travelling from Ballarat to Melbourne by train over the past eight years.

Since dropping sharply from an hour and a half in 2005 to just over an hour in 2006, the trip to Melbourne has been getting gradually longer.

The increase coincides with a 37.2 per cent growth in the number of people travelling on the Ballarat line in the past five years. 

The change has been incremental, with only a few minutes being added at three different points in time. 

In 2012, four minutes was added to the overall travel time, in 2011 five minutes was added and in 2007 three minutes was added.

The Courier chose the first Monday in December for an analysis of train timetables and selected the last train to arrive in Melbourne before 9am.

Currently a train leaving at 7.36am will arrive at Southern Cross at 8.49am. 

However, a train departing Ballarat at 7.46am in 2006 arrived at Southern Cross at 8.47am.

V/Line spokesperson Clare Steele said one of the reasons for the increase was a busier regional and metropolitan network.

“We share the track with Metro trains from Sunshine and, just like a busy road, we too are affected by congestion,” she said. 

“Timetable updates are about giving customers realistic times so they can accurately plan their journey.” 

The significant drop in the commute time in 2006 was due to the completion of the Regional Fast Rail Project.

The project included better coordination with metropolitan trains, improvements such as moving fleet around to best cater for demand and changing stopping patterns.

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