By Brendan Rees
Train commuters’ woes continue on the Cranbourne line as performance targets again fell short for the month of October.
New figures, released by Public Transport Victoria show the punctuality rate was 86.3 per cent. The result was short of Metro Trains’ performance benchmark of 92 per cent.
Overall, 43 trains were cancelled for the month on the Cranbourne line or on average, just over one train a day.
However, across the board, Metro Trains says it delivered 90.3 per cent of services on time in October.
A Metro spokesperson said there were punctuality improvements on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines in October – “but we know there is more work to do to give passengers the service they deserve”.
“Performance was impacted by a number of external incidents during the month, including vandalism, trespassers and police operations, as well as other incidents within Metro’s control,” the spokesperson said.
“Our priority is delivering a more consistent service for Melbourne – that means raising the bar on performance, meeting our targets, and ensuring passengers can have confidence in the service we provide”.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said it was “disappointing but not surprising” the Cranbourne line continued to perform badly.
“Until the single track is duplicated, punctuality will continue to be a problem, along with train crowding caused by a lack of services,” he said.
“Late and cancelled trains can play havoc with passengers’ days. The Cranbourne line also suffers from trains being terminated short at Dandenong to prevent flow-on delays.
“The growing southeast needs a rail system people can rely on, so Metro and the government must work harder to improve the service,” Mr Bowen said.
State coalition transport spokesman David Davis labelled the Cranbourne results as a “disaster” with almost 14 per cent of trains late – 468 trains in October failing to meet the punctuality rules.
“Despite billions spent on crossing removals and all the inconvenience, Cranbourne line trains would struggle to out-perform Puffing Billy. It’s hopeless,” he said.
“This follows Daniel Andrews’ bizarre plan to hide his Government’s abject failure by increasing the scheduled journey times on 93 daily services by up to five minutes each trip”.
Trespasser incidents and police operations delayed 230 trains on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines in October. Other incidents included a person hit by a train at Pakenham during the morning peak on 29 October and a trespasser sitting on rail tracks at Clayton causing delays to Pakenham line services on 16 October.
“There is strong collaboration between the Department, Metro Trains and Victoria Police to prevent illegal behaviours and catch those who vandalise the network and delay our passengers,” Department of Transport Head of Transport Services Jeroen Weimar said.