Pakenham’s rail pain continues

Pakenham train station. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 196128_03

By Mitchell Clarke

A total of 188 services on the Pakenham line were cancelled in January, the worst performing result in over a year, furthering Metro’s nightmarish failure to reach organisational targets.

The Pakenham and Cranbourne lines both failed punctuality targets for every month in 2019, and the start of 2020 is even worse.

In December last year, 3753 trains ran on time but this January, that figure dropped to 2253 services on time.

Construction on the Metro Tunnel project teamed with ongoing level crossing removal works at Cardinia Road and industrial action contributed to the company’s 91 percent punctuality and 98 percent reliability.

Department of Transport head of services Jeroen Weimar said it was “disappointing” that passengers continued to be impacted by these issues.

“It is frustrating that these disruptions impact our passengers who rely on trains and trams to get them where they need to go,” Mr Weimar said.

“All parties need to come to the table and come to an agreement quickly to prevent further inconvenience for our passengers.”

The Department added that a driver resource issue played a major factor, they claim Metro’s performance was also impacted by hot weather and storm activity which saw lightning strikes affect rail equipment.

“We continue to work with Metro Trains on plans to improve performance, through the rollout of initiatives including extra staff on station platforms, new technology on platform displays and ongoing work to prevent people illegally walking on tracks,” Mr Weimar added.

But the opposition said the State Government’s promises had “fallen flat” with slower train travel, more unreliability and no sign of improvement for five years.

“Daniel Andrews and Labor have failed to fix the problems they created and when commuters in the south-east want answers, Labor has gone silent and are nowhere to be seen,” Gembrook MP Brad Battin said.

He’s called on Bass MP Jordan Crugnale and Cranbourne MP Pauline Richards to answer the questions of “frustrated commuters”.

“Labor needs to get their priorities straight and start focusing on getting the essential services right and provide the reliable public transport service commuters in the south-east deserve and pay for,” Mr Battin added.

Metro Trains will now be forced to pay compensation to eligible passengers. Passengers can visit the Metro website to claim compensation.


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