PUNCTUALITY of passenger trains on the Warrnambool line is still running below target with the latest V/Line figures being the second worst in regional Victoria, but reliability remained among the best.
Eighty per cent of services for July ran on time, but one-in-five fell short of the 92 per cent benchmark which is to be within 10 minutes 59 seconds of schedule at the end of the journey.
Punctuality on the Warrnambool line has long been an issue with most service arrivals running late. September 2013 was the last time a service met target.
However, reliability was a creditable 99.4 per cent — exactly the same as July last year and among the best for the year.
The Greens challenged Transport Minister Terry Mulder to explain why trains keep running late and how many recommendations of a 2011 strategic report for improving the network had been implemented.
Mr Mulder said the punctuality figures showed four of every five Warrnambool-line trains were less than 11 minutes late arriving at either Southern Cross or Warrnambool.
“V/Line finished 2013-14 with its best overall punctuality performance in recent years, so the government wants to see improvement during the remaining winter and spring months,” he said.
“July was the fifth consecutive month in which more than 99 per cent of V/Line’s timetabled Warrnambool-line trains operated.
“Passengers overwhelmingly tell the Victorian Coalition government they want to travel in trains, not replacement rail coaches.”
He said the Regional Rail Link project, due for completion under-budget in mid-2015, would allow Warrnambool-line trains to avoid delays caused by Metro’s suburban trains.
Opposition spokeswoman for public transport Jill Hennessy said the figures showed V/Line public transport under the Napthine government was running backwards.
“In July last year 90.5 per cent of Warrnambool services ran on time, compared with 80 per cent for July this year,” he said.
Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said Mr Mulder must explain why V/Line was continually unable to meet its performance benchmarks.
“Was there a shortage of rolling stock, was the driver sick, was there a cow on the tracks, was there a tree across the line,” he asked.
“In 2011 V/Line provided a report explaining what they need to fix their performance and punctuality problems, but the Napthine government has largely ignored their recommendations.”