Three million ride Ballarat trains

THE number of commuters travelling between Ballarat and Melbourne on V/Line services each year has more than doubled in five years, new figures show.Almost three million commuters travelled the Ballarat line on V/Line trains and passenger coaches last financial year, according to the figures.That figure was 5.1 per cent more than the previous financial year, when 2.68 million people travelled the line by either train or bus.In the 2004-05 financial year, 1.35 million commuters were recorded on the Ballarat line. This increased to 1.37 million the following year, 1.88 million in 2006-07, 2.39 million in 2007-08, 2.68 million in 2008-09 and 2.82 million last financial year.Only Bendigo and Gippsland lines recorded a higher percentage increase than Ballarat over the last five years, with 138.6 per cent and 124.7 per cent respectively.To meet the increasing demand, V/Line has announced an extra 1230 seats would be added to Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Seymour line trains.New VLocity trains and a statewide redeployment of the V/Line fleet will boost seating on some peak and off-peak services. Twelve of the extra carriages were introduced in the past few months, while a further 24 are due next year.