Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has today in Parliament asked the Minister for Public Transport to finally commence the necessary planning , design and costings that is required for a dedicated Gippsland V/Line track into Melbourne.
A recent statement by the State Government quoted that: “Victorian train passengers on every metropolitan and regional train line will be able to enjoy reduced travel times with trips up to 50 minutes faster to and from new destinations at Domain and Parkville, thanks to the $11 billion Metro Tunnel”.
“Well the only way Gippsland commuters are going to see significantly reduced travel times is by way of a dedicated line, yet the Minister and the Government don’t even seem interested in pursuing this option,” Mr Northe said.
If it’s good enough for Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo to have dedicated lines into Melbourne then why is it not good enough to plan for a dedicated line for Gippsland commuters.
Gippsland V/Line community advocacy groups, Gippsland Councils and Gippsland commuters are all calling for the State Government to at the very least explore this necessary option.
“Gippsland commuters are tired of allowing extra time for their travel. They are tired of being let down by continuous cancellations. They are tired of ongoing bus replacement services. They are tired of apologies by the Government and calls for understanding,” Mr Northe said.
It’s not only commuters that are feeling frustrated, and in that context one can only feel for our local V/Line staff who have done an incredible job in very trying and difficult circumstances.
“Gippsland commuters have borne the brunt of works on the network and quite rightly ask what benefits will be derived when works are complete – what extra services will be added, and on what services will travel times be reduced and by how much? These are legitimate questions that the State Government seem incapable of answering,” Mr Northe said.
The frustration of Gippsland commuters is palpable given the unreliability of services with people either missing medical appointments, missing important transport connections, missing events and functions and in many cases losing work because they are running late.
“If the Government was fair dinkum about really improving Gippsland rail services they need to urgently commence the planning for a dedicated Gippsland rail line in and out of Melbourne,” said Mr Northe