V/LINE has failed to meet its punctuality targets on the Ballarat line for seven months in a row, with June figures revealing a three per cent drop in trains arriving within six minutes of their scheduled time, to 84.7 per cent.
Released a week before the Regional Rail Link opens between Sunshine and Southern Cross stations, reliability is just 0.4 per cent below the target of 96 per cent.
Public transport users association regional spokesman Paul Westcott said the Regional Rail Link would not make any major difference to Ballarat services.
“It’s hard to see how the Regional Rail Link will have an impact on punctuality, because the single track between Ballarat and Sunshine is there, so whenever there’s a problem with a train, the whole line gets backed up.”
He said some time could be saved between Sunshine and Southern Cross.
“When the train doesn’t stop anywhere, you’re going to be a bit quicker,” he said.
Out of the short-distance V/Line routes, the Gippsland line was the worst performing, with only three quarters of trains running on time, and Bendigo the best, with 0.3 per cent above the target of 92 per cent.
Overall, 86.9 per cent of V/Line trains were on time in June.
After a week of replacement coach services between Ballarat and Melbourne, the feedback from passengers to the PTUA has mostly been positive, Mr Westcott said.
“People understand their trip’s going to take a bit longer, and might not be as comfortable, but V/Line has communicated the reasons well, and not left anyone stranded.”
Coaches run until next Tuesday, and then the new timetable, which Mr Westcott said would be a “big change”, will be unveiled on July 27.