The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien is again calling on the Andrews Labor Government to improve the service on the Gippsland line, with demand for passenger rail expected to increase as public transport fares fall from March 31.
Mr O’Brien said it was disappointing that despite years of delays and disruptions as works have been undertaken on the Gippsland line there was still no additional services.
“We have got 19 services a day from Traralgon and just a measly three services to Bairnsdale, including Sale,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The populations of Wellington and East Gippsland shires tally up to nearly 100,000 people – almost the population of Ballarat which has over 20 services a day.
“With the new $9.20 fare cap, passenger numbers are tipped to rise and new services will be needed more than ever.
“We want the upgrade so that we can have some additional services, and we have still not got any commitment from this government for additional services on the Gippsland line or any promise of a dedicated line through Melbourne to improve punctuality.”
Mr O’Brien said Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo all have a dedicated line that was completed by The Nationals and Liberals when last in government, but Labor continually turns its back on Gippsland rail users.
“With the Andrews Labor Government’s sky rail through the south-eastern suburbs, there is limited possibility of a dedicated line for Gippsland because the government failed plan for it.
“Given ongoing delays and timetable challenges caused by congestion on the tracks shared by Metro and V/Line trains, I have been calling for a feasibility study into a dedicated Gippsland line for years now and it has continued to fall on deaf ears.
“I caught the train to Parliament last week, as I often do and as is always the case we rocketed along to Pakenham and then we got stuck behind a Metro train and were 20 minutes late.
“Indeed, according to V/Line’s own performance data for February 2023, trains from Bairnsdale to Southern Cross Station arrived within 11 minutes of the scheduled time just 88.4 per cent of the time, well-short of the targeted 92 cent.
“Gippsland passenger rail users deserve better and the Government needs to improve and increase the service available on the Gippsland line.”