December caps off ‘disaster’ year for commuters

Statistics show that Cranbourne train line''s punctuality did not achieve its targets for 2019.

By Brendan Rees

Cranbourne’s train line has been labelled a “disaster” as the latest data shows performance targets fell short for every month of 2019.

New figures, released by Public Transport Victoria showed the punctuality rate in December was 85.6 per cent – which was short of Metro Trains’ performance benchmark of 92 per cent.

Overall, 65 trains were cancelled compared to 27 in November.

State coalition transport spokesman David Davis said the statistics showed during 2019 that commuters had “suffered” with over 5,500 late services and left standing on crowded platforms on over 2,100 occasions due to cancellations, station skips, bypasses and short services – 654 more occasions (an increase of 45.0 per cent) compared to the last year under the Coalition.

“This clearly shows that commuters can’t rely on our train network to get them to where they need to go,” Mr Davis said.

“Despite the billions spent on rail infrastructure projects and endless empty promises, all Daniel Andrews and Labor have delivered to Cranbourne rail commuters is a serious and sustained punctuality decline.”

Metro CEO Raymond O’Flaherty acknowledged passengers deserved better and were “working harder than ever to turn the dial on performance, meet our targets, and deliver a more consistent service for Melbourne.”

December performance was impacted by a number of incidents, including several days of extreme heat and wind, resulting in speed restrictions and trees falling across rail lines, Mr O’Flaherty said.

“Metro successfully moved 180,000 people to New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city, with more than 540 additional services put on for one of the busiest nights of the year,” he said.

Department of Transport Head of Transport Services Jeroen Weimar Metro Trains was faced with “many challenges” in December but said: “We’re still looking for them to improve their performance to ensure our passengers get the reliable service they deserve.”

Liberal Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said it was “shocking” the Cranbourne line had failed in punctuality for 12 months consecutively.

“Commuters in Casey would already know the majority of the punctuality fails occurred mostly on workdays with Metro not delivering acceptable punctuality on at least 15 out of 20 days – a shocking 75 per cent fail rate,” Mr Battin said.

“The former Liberal Government left the metro rail system with a 94.3 per cent punctuality rate by November 2014, and Labor has overseen a dramatic decline in the service in just five years.”

Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel said the Cranbourne line had the Metro network’s worst punctuality in December and called for a more reliable train service.

“These continual delays cause real impacts to passengers,” Mr Bowen said.

“The single track on the line continues to play havoc with train services, with delays quickly snowballing. The State Government must ensure that duplication of the line is completed as quickly as possible.”

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