Commuters along the Ballarat line have been left angry by peak hour services repeatedly being slashed from six carriages to three, causing increased congestion and forcing some customers to stand the entire journey.
Customers took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustration at the crowded service, with some commuters complaining of having to stand for the entire journey.
Customers also vented their frustration at the same problem occurring on the same service on March 2
Public Transport Users Association Ballarat convenor Ben Lever said while overcrowding has been common on the Ballarat line for a long time, the association had received a clear spike in complaints over the past fortnight.
“Passenger numbers have boomed in recent years and the government is very much playing catch-up,” Mr Lever said.
“Whatever the reason the carriages are being taken off the Ballarat line at the moment, it highlights just how close to capacity V/Line's fleet is.”
The reduced capacity comes despite the pledge during the last state budget to add 27 carriages to a longstanding commitment for an additional 21 carriages to the line.
Six carriages were also added to two of the line’s busiest services in November last year.
Regular commuter Barbara Pipcorn said she had returned to driving at points during the past two weeks due to the state of congestion and the unexpected stops.
“There’s been times where we’ve been left with three cars and have been told to move up and everybody's crammed in and there's not a coach replacement,” Ms Pipcorn said. “We pay mega-dollars to use the service from Ballarat and it’s just not acceptable.
A V/Line spokesperson said “there are times when we need to run different train types or carriage arrangements”.
“Reasons for reducing the number of carriages can include trains that require cleaning after graffiti, animal strikes or unexpected faults,” the spokesperson said.
While V/Line will in some instances run coaches where carriages are removed from a service, this is not always the case.
V/Line’s performance figures for January showed an acceptable 96.4 per cent in reliability and a sub-par 85.2 per cent punctuality rate, with February figures expected to be released in the coming days.