Australia V/Line passengers told to get used to standing

05:00  21 april  2017
05:00  21 april  2017 Source:   9News.com.au

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“I stood up and felt something wet on my back. I had had a few drinks, I wasn’t thinking properly, but I smelled gas and I couldn’t breathe. LIVE FEED. V / Line passengers told to get used to standing .

Passengers using Victoria’s regional trains face being forced to stand more often, as V/Line struggles to keep up with booming patronage growth.

Last month the rail operator carried a record 1.9 million passengers, with more than 750,000 on the Geelong line alone.

Public Transport Victoria says it’s a level of ridership “not seen before”.

Much of the growth has come from new stations in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, with Tarneit, which was only opened in June 2015, already the second busiest station on V/Line’s network.

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"People were standing at the door inside. "My hands were shaking when I got off." The woman said passengers on the carriage she was in were the only ones to escape. "We were told to go back on the platform but no trains were coming. It was havoc everywhere," she said.

"People were standing at the door inside. "My hands were shaking when I got off." The woman said passengers on the carriage she was in were the only ones to escape. "We were told to go back on the platform but no trains were coming. It was havoc everywhere," she said.

But the growth in passenger numbers has resulted in many peak services arriving into Southern Cross at full capacity.

This morning new CEO James Pinder faced a parliamentary committee, telling the hearing he isn’t satisfied with current levels of performance.

In March roughly one in five commuter trains arrived late, while ongoing speed restrictions on the Warrnambool line saw just 31.2% of services arrive on time.

Mr Pinder said Victoria’s booming population is changing V/Line’s role.

“We can no longer classify ourselves as a regional-type network, when we’re operating on that corridor between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo and the city” he said.

“Do we like the fact on some of our trains when they arrive at our stations within that corridor people have to stand for 20 minutes? No”.

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Ballarat V / Line may not be the worst for overcrowding, but if passengers are forced to stand for over an hour It's the only way she can be sure to get a seat and avoid having to stand in the aisle all the way to the city. " Standing on V / Line trains is not something that Victorians are used to ," he said. Jeroen Weimar, Public Transport Victoria's chief executive, told the inquiry regional rail patronage

“We are in some ways victims of our own success”.

The state government has ordered 48 extra V/Locity carriages in an attempt to boost capacity, the last of which is due to be delivered early next year.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the government has now started work on plans for a “next generation” regional train.

“A bigger longer train, for example that enables it to carry more passengers, which would certainly address some of those issues and challenges of growth that we’re experiencing across the network” she said.

But the trade-off for extra capacity is likely to be fewer seats, meaning even more passengers could be forced to spend at least part of their journey on their feet.

The government is under pressure to commit more funds to regional rail in next month’s state budget.

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