Train pain felt on roads

By Rowan Forster

The “woeful” reliability of Pakenham’s train line is prompting more commuters to ditch the rail network and try their luck in Melbourne’s peak-hour traffic.

Performance data released by Public Transport Victoria reveals the line has consistently underperformed, claiming the dubious title of being the city’s least punctual service for three of the six five months.

Passengers have told of their fury and frustration amid “constant” delays and cancellations.

“I am sick of the unreliability of the trains on the Pakenham-Cranbourne line and experience undue delays and cancellations on practically a daily basis,” Kylie Ohlson said.

“This train line needs to be duplicated and signals upgraded so that quicker, more frequent services can run on this line.

“I pay my fare just like commuters on other lines but do not get the same quality and frequency of service.”

In the most recent month recorded, 466 services ran upwards of five minutes late and 72 services were cancelled.

Berwick’s Nick Moore said he has begun driving to TAFE, disillusioned by the punctuality of train services in the region.

He suspects many are doing the same, causing the region’s roads to suffer further congestion.

“If public transport was reliable, you definitely wouldn’t have as many people on the roads,” he said.

“It got to the point where I was late so much that I had to start driving instead – I just couldn’t rely on the train getting me there on time.”

He said the most frustrating leg of his journey came on Clyde Road, which has been flagged by many as “chaotic”.

According to VicRoads data compiled in 2016, approximately 25,000 vehicles were using Clyde Road, between the Princes Freeway and Centre Road, per day.

The figure grew by approximately 4000 in three years, indicating the figure could be as much as 28,000 today.

However, Berwick’s Matt McMaster last month told Star News he preferred to endure the rail network than drive along Clyde Road.

“I prefer to take a one hour train ride to work rather than drive into the city,” Mr McMaster said.

“I avoid Clyde Road whenever I can.”

Clyde Road has so far received the most submissions to Star News’ Unblock the Gridlock traffic campaign, ousting the notorious Racecourse Road.

Submissions can be made on Star News’ competition page, https://starcommunity.com.au/competitions/.

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