By Rowan Forster
Four services, on average, were abruptly cancelled on the Pakenham train line every day in December – marking a brutal slump in reliability for the crowded rail corridor.
It came in the midst of Victoria’s “Big Build”, which saw services suspended on parts of the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines during the first three weeks of the month.
New figures, released by Public Transport Victoria on Thursday, revealed 376 services were late and 123 were cancelled.
The overall punctuality rate sat at 86.2 per cent, a drop on the previous month; but still higher than the lacklustre 84.8 per cent recorded in March, 2018.
The result was substantially short of Metro Trains’ performance benchmark of 92 per cent.
While some commuters were quick to vent their frustrations, others acknowledged the results as an “investment in the future”.
“I’ve almost completely given up on the trains, and I know I’m not the only one,” Officer’s Brad Atkinson said.
“You can’t rely on them to make it to work commitments or appointments on time and you’re better off just driving.
“For a city this size, you need it to be much more reliable.”
PTV CEO Jeroen Weimar chalked the results down to ongoing works.
He thanked passengers for their patience throughout December.
“December saw major works continue to prepare the network for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains and we especially thank passengers on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Gippsland lines for their ongoing patience during these important works,” Mr Weimar said.
Across the board, Metro delivered 92.4 per cent of services on time in December, a much higher number than those exclusively on the Pakenham line.
V/Line delivered 88.8 per cent of services on-time in December, with Gippsland proving to be an ongoing issue regarding punctuality.