Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood has called on Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan to extend free travel and provide clearer and more accurate information to commuters about the disruption they are facing on the Gippsland line.
‘Gippsland commuters have suffered through another week of confusion and delay with still no date in place for rail services to return to the line,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘Commuters should not have to pay for an inferior service and I call on the Minister to extend the free travel on the Gippsland line until full services return.
‘Comments made by the Minister this week do not alleviate concerns of local commuters and seem to focus more on apologies and her own frustration rather than detailing how the Andrews Government is fixing the issue and when commuters can expect services to resume.
‘My office has been inundated with reports about delayed services, cancellations, over crowded buses and also a VLine engine break down that saw many local commuters journey to Warragul take nearly 3 hours. That is not a service I think commuters should be paying for,’ said Mr Blackwood.
Mr Blackwood also referred to comments made by Minister Allan in the Herald Sun that the wheel wear issue may disrupt services and their capacity for months beyond the expected mid-March return of rail services to the Gippsland line.
‘There are reports this week that even when services do return, the wheel wear issue may see large parts of the VLocity fleet out of service for many more months.
‘Minister Allan must give assurances to Gippsland commuters that they will not be forgotten when the trains do return and that they receive a fair share of carriages and locomotives.
‘Gippsland commuters should not be left in this position for the long term while other networks such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong receive rolling stock to boost their services. That would be unfair on Gippsland commuters,’ Mr Blackwood said.