V/Line will fail to meet basic human needs if it cans catering facilities on the region's long-awaited VLocity trains, transport experts have warned.
Independent transport think tank the Rail Futures Institute (RFI) has questioned V/Line's responsibilities to long-distance travellers after the transport giant confirmed cafe bars won't be included in the current design of the new broad VLocity gauge trains.
In July a V/Line spokesman told The Standard the overwhelming feedback from passengers was they wanted a fast, reliable train service.
He said the cafe bar was a bespoke feature that wouldn't be included in the new fast trains as they wouldn't service any one line exclusively, meaning a service on the Warrnambool line may also be required to provide higher patronage and shorter commuter services on the Geelong line.
RFI president John Hearsch said on Wednesday the move would deny long-distance passengers basic human needs.
"Rail management always proclaims safety as their number one priority but safety goes beyond the basics of protecting people from serious harm," he told The Standard.
"It also goes to V/Line's duty of care in meeting basic human needs and not subjecting passengers to conditions which could have health implications.
"Basic human needs for long-distance travel could include comfortable seating, good air-conditioning, clean toilets and food and drink when the latter can't otherwise be obtained for many hours at a time."
Mr Hearsch said V/Line had a one-size-fits-all approach to its V/Locity services, which are yet to arrive in Warrnambool despite being announced in 2017.
"In the case of the intercity services to Warrnambool, 50 per cent of train passengers continue beyond Terang and Warrnambool by road coach services to Hamilton, Casterton, Portland and Mount Gambier," Mr Hearsch said.
"Without facilities at Warrnambool station itself, those people will endure seven-hour journeys with no refreshment other than water. We think that's wrong."
Mr Hearsch said the proposal to use the same commuter-type trains on longer distance services to Warrnambool, but without any form of on-board food and drink service, appeared to minimise inconvenience to V/Line through a "minimal no-frills service".
He said V/Line had a duty of care to its passengers and that included keeping the catering facility, which was introduced 40 years ago.
Member for Western Victoria Stuart Grimley said he wrote to Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll on August 23 urging him to reverse the decision to remove on-board catering.
He said it was "beyond belief" that he was advocating for such a cause.
The decision was also slammed by state opposition leader Matthew Guy during his visit to Warrnambool on July 26.
"When you're getting three hours on a train beyond Melbourne, it's important you have some level of amenity," he said.
"It's totally unreasonable for people to be sitting in a bolt upright position without any access to a cafe service. It's about putting the passengers first - that's what it should be about."
Alongside no snack cars, the long-awaited VLocity trains will also have fewer seats, The Standard revealed last month.
A V/Line spokesman said the transport service acknowledged refreshments were important to some passengers.
"We will continue to work to find alternative options once VLocity trains are introduced," he said
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