V/LINE commuters say they are fed up with what they say are weekly delays on the Wendouree line.
And the rail authority is offering compensation to travellers caught up in Monday night’s debacle which saw some passengers on the 5.50pm service from Southern Cross not arrive at their destination until after 9.30pm.
Passengers endured a horror near four-hour trip on Monday night after signal faults between Ballan and Ballarat caused delays of more than two hours.
The last time V/Line met its performance target of 92 per cent on the Wendouree line was October 2016.
In recent months, commuters have put up with a litany of delays and cancellations due to everything from staff shortages and staff training to engine failures, vandalism and signal faults.
Jospeh van Dyk who was on Monday night’s train said it was not fair to commuters.
“What is it? It’s been 20 months since they’ve met their performance targets, it’s just not good enough,” he said.
“Every week there are delays of 15-20 minutes, but this was one out of the box.”
Garima Pasoria, who is four months pregnant, said her husband had to wait for more than an hour at Ballarat Station.
“They kept telling us it would be a few minutes, so we had no idea how long it would be,” Ms Pasoria said.
“I work in Melbourne and I had to get home for appointments. Unfortunately this is not the first time something like this has happened.”
Public Transport Users Association Ballarat convenor Ben Lever said both V/Line and the State Government shared responsibility for the mess.
“It tends to be a fix on fail approach, rather than getting ahead of it,” Mr Lever said.
“If it is going to be a very long delay, they need to do more to communicate it.
“Ballarat also has the problem of the bus service finishing earlier, so if you are delayed and you don’t have a car you have no way of getting home.”
V/Line chief executive James Pinder said there were two separate track faults in close succession between 6pm and 9pm on the line.
The first fault happened about 6pm and was rectified at 6.50pm while a separate fault happened at 6.30pm and was not fixed until 9.16pm. The cause of both faults are under investigation.
“V/Line would like to sincerely apologise to those passengers caught up in a major disruption on the Ballarat line (Monday) night,” Mr Pinder said.
“Two signals faults occurred in close succession at separate locations on the Ballarat corridor and this caused long delays to journey times.”
“V/Line worked as quickly as possible to rectify the fault as trains moved safely and slowly through the section.”
“We encourage affected passengers delayed more than 60 minutes by last night’s events to contact us to discuss their eligibility for compensation.”
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said “what happened (Monday) night was unacceptable and we apologise to passengers for the inconvenience”.
“Disruption does occur across the network - however, passengers should be receiving regular up to date information and support to get them where they need to go.
“I’ve spoken to the Chair of V/Line, Jeroen Weimar about what has occurred and asked for advice on the steps V/Line will take to learn from this incident and ensure it isn’t repeated.”
In a statement V/Line chairman Jereon Weimar also slammed the events, saying “Monday night's issues on the Ballarat line were not acceptable, and I want to apologise to passengers for the inconvenience they experienced”.
“I am already working with the team on how we can prevent this from happening again,” the statement read.
Compensation is be available for the cost of your entire trip if you experience a delay of 60 minutes or more on a single journey.
For more call 1800 800 007.