By Danielle Kutchel
The State Government has rolled out a new train timetable for Cranbourne and Pakenham line users.
Touted as “the biggest timetable change since the opening of the City Loop”, it sees additional services added across the network, as commuters begin returning to the office.
But it’s not just the return to work that commuters will need to adjust to.
Changes to the timetable, which were rolled out on Sunday 31 January, mean that Cranbourne and Pakenham line trains will run in one direction through the City Loop – anti-clockwise, from Parliament to Flinders Street – the entire day.
A government spokesperson said this would give passengers more certainty about their trip as they would know which direction the train is travelling in each time they board.
“The change will facilitate our bigger, more modern trains, and is also delivering more reliable services – with Frankston trains no longer running through the Loop, trains don’t need to queue to enter the tunnel any longer,” the spokesperson said.
They added that travellers on the Pakenham line will also benefit from “more trains, more often”, thanks to “45 new extra services added to the line … including 10 during the busiest times of the day, giving passengers more options to work flexibly and make physical distancing easier.”
This means that for the Pakenham line, there will be a train to the city every 11 minutes on average between 6am and 10am, and every 12 minutes between 3.30pm and 7.30pm.
But the State Opposition says the changes will leave commuters facing a longer trip to their destination.
In a statement, Shadow Minister for Public Transport David Davis said: “Cranbourne and Pakenham Line commuters will find the direction of their evening City Loop services reversed, leaving many no alternative but to seek to scramble aboard another packed service and then change trains at Richmond or South Yarra.”
““Daniel Andrews calls it ‘additional train services’ but people on the key Cranbourne and Pakenham Lines are facing slower services and others are forced to change trains – it’s a con job,” he added.
“Andrews has seemingly wasted billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on transport infrastructure with countless major disruptions to commuters’ travel only to result in metropolitan train services that are now slower and less direct than ever before for many commuters.
“Add to that the trouble plagued High Capacity Metro Trains project, already years overdue, and the massive budget blowouts with the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project and Labor’s transport infrastructure agenda scores a resounding fail.”
Meanwhile, the State Government has also introduced a new online tool, RideSpace, which will provide real-time information for passengers on metropolitan trains about how busy their service will be, before they board.
The timetable changes were also accompanied by a 30 percent fare discount for travellers on the metropolitan network outside of peak periods.
The off-peak discount will be in place for the next three months, automatically providing 30 percent off myki fares for passengers touching off between 9.30am and 4pm or after 7pm on weekdays.
RideSpace can be accessed at ridespace.coronavirus.vic.gov.au