Gippsland commuters on the Traralgon line are facing extended delays, cancelled services and replacement coaches with no public comment from Daniel Andrews or his Public Transport Minister.
The failure of a VLocity train to trigger a boom gate Friday at Dandenong has apparently caused the cancellation of VLine services on suburban rail lines.
Coalition Members from across Gippsland have voiced their frustration at the lack of transparency from the Andrews Government and called on the Premier to support regional commuters.
‘Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan have left both regional operator VLine and regional commuters to fend for themselves on the Traralgon line,’ said Mr Blackwood.
‘Already I have had emails and social media posts from commuters expressing their frustration with delays and a lack of information on how exactly their service is impacted.
‘A number of local residents have contacted my office and stated that they were not aware services had been cancelled, delayed or transferred to coaches until they arrived at local stations.
‘It is simply not good enough for Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan to disappear leaving VLine to sort this issue out on their own,’ Mr Blackwood said.
Member for Morwell Russell Northe said his constituents deserved to know why the issue with signalling had arisen and when they could expect to see normal services resume.
‘Gippsland commuters have been told to allow at least an extra 45 minutes travel time on their journeys with most Traralgon trains also being replaced by coaches for the entirety of their journey,’ Mr Northe said.
‘Gippsland train services and commuters have been treated as second class by Labor Governments, with the Regional Rail Link project a prime example, whereby upgrades on the Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo lines occurred yet Gippsland was totally neglected.
'The Coalition adopted a plan prior to the 2014 election that included additional services, the duplication of tracks and removal of level crossings on the Gippsland line, yet the Labor Government has completely ignored these initiatives.
‘Today is the fourth day of interruptions for commuters and the network will be under extreme pressure to deal with the additional pressure from people returning to work for the week.
‘Jacinta Allan and Daniel Andrews need to come clean and tell regional commuters, who already travel long distances using public transport, just how long this shambles is set to continue.
'If Gippsland commuters continue to face delays and a compromised service because of this issue then the Premier and Minister Allan need to seriously consider either reimbursing commuters who have been affected or offering free transport on the Gippsland line until a fix is found,’ said Mr Northe.
Similar bans have not been instituted on the Bendigo line where staff have been placed at each crossing to ensure the safety of commuters and that gates are indeed triggering as required. There has been no word from the Andrews Government as to why similar action has not been taken between Pakenham and Melbourne to allow VLocity services to resume.
Regional commuters are being encouraged to let Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan know their frustration by tagging them in social media posts on Twitter and Facebook.