Gippsland commuters have faced confusion and delay now for weeks, with months more to come, and are rightly fed up with the inaccurate and misleading information they are receiving from the Andrews government and the Minister for Public Transport. The Brumby government's failure to include the Gippsland line in the regional rail link program, signed off in 2010 by then Minister for Public Transport, Martin Pakula, has now come back to hurt Gippsland commuters who face cancelled rail services and slow buses day in day out until midyear because of mismanagement and underinvestment by Labor.
To compound local commuters' frustrations the minister stated on 4 February that regional services were stable with 80 per cent of trains running in regional areas. That number was based on an average across all regional lines deliberately hiding the extent of cancellations on the Gippsland line. Only 27 per cent of weekday rail services are running as trains, with the remaining 73 per cent running as buses. The minister has buried the real extent of rail disruption from local commuters who have been left to fend for themselves under this Andrews government and its inaction.
As well as working parents not getting to see their children before bedtime and students being late for classes or missing lectures, businesses are also suffering — for example, Choochoo's coffee shop on the Warragul station platform is suffering an 80 per cent drop in turnover.
The Andrews government is all talk and no action on the Gippsland line, with no real plan or direction to improve services in the future. The minister should apologise to Gippsland commuters for the contempt she has shown them and she should provide accurate information going forward to assist them.