SOUTH West Coast MP Roma Britnell claims a new Victorian Auditor General’s report confirms V/Line trains aren’t up to scratch.
But the state government has argued the issues highlighted in the report are the result of cuts and neglect by the Coalition Government when it was in power.
The report comes with the release of V/Line data which showed punctuality on the Warrnambool line for July was 67.9 per cent – up 3.3 per cent from June. Despite the increase the figure falls well below the target of 92 per cent.
Mrs Britnell said the auditor general’s report showed V/Line was letting down regional commuters with a poor service that was unreliable and overcrowded.
She said the report also found much of the V/Line fleet was too old, there were issues with maintenance and there was a lack of data for monitoring of services. In a briefing on the report on Wednesday, Mrs Britnell asked if the audit was able to determine how many passengers got on or off at individual stations along the Warrnambool line.
“The VAGO representative said they were unable to tell which station passengers got on or off the train because the system is outdated, they couldn’t analyse that level of detail,” she said.
But the government argued that in less than three years it had added nearly 600 new services across regional Victoria and invested $600 million in maintenance and operations. Minister for Transport Jacinta Allan said the government inherited an operator in crisis but the government’s record investment in trains, maintenance and the regional operator had turned that around.
“We’ve added nearly 600 new services, and are getting on with the Regional Rail Revival, which will improve every regional passenger line in the state – allowing more trains, more often, across regional Victoria,” she said.
Greens transport spokesperson Samantha Dunn said V/Line's problems didn't pop up overnight. “A succession of governments, Labor and Liberal, have neglected V/line and failed to plan for growth,” she said.