South-west not connected

Travel connected: Warrnambool line passengers will only receive a small benefit from the government's mobile black spot program.
Travel connected: Warrnambool line passengers will only receive a small benefit from the government's mobile black spot program.

The state government has fronted up funds to improve mobile phone service on V/Line trains, but Warrnambool line passengers will mostly miss out.

An $18 million project will employ innovative in-train technology that strengthens signal from nearby phone towers, but it will only be available for people travelling on the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon and Seymour rail lines.

Up to 35 new mobile phone towers are set to be constructed by 2018.

Public Transport Users Association regional spokesman Paul Westcott said similar proposals had been made before.

“Governments of both stripes have promised fixes but it does look like at the face of it this may be more hopeful than all the other ones,” he said.

Mr Westcott said although the project didn’t include areas beyond the commuter belt, it covered the vast majority of passengers.

“I’m a bit dubious about the two-year time frame,” he said.

The technology will only be piloted and installed on VLocity carriages, which cannot travel on the Warrnambool line, so south-west passengers would only experience the benefits from Geelong.