V/Line delays deter public

BENDIGO V/line passengers say track works that forced commuters on to buses have put people off catching public transport.

A number of passengers at the Bendigo train station yesterday said they were deterred from catching services partly replaced by buses. Passengers have been advised to allow about 45 minutes extra travel time during the works that are being done over nine days until January 13, as part of upgrades to the Regional Rail Link project.

David Iser, who came to Bendigo to visit his father, said he was disappointed with the bus services.

“I wouldn’t travel if it was a bus, it’s just not as comfortable,” he said. “I made sure I was on a train service.”

During the works, trains are running between Bendigo to Sunbury and buses will transport passengers from Sunbury to Melbourne.

Passenger Maddie Mckinley said she was hoping the works would improve services, eventually.

“It’s alright catching the buses for the short-term; you put up with it if it makes the service better down the track,” she said.

For some passengers on the Bendigo V/Line service, the service came at an extra cost, with a glitch in Public Transport Victoria’s system removing the cheaper option of buying off-peak fares from some stops.

All V/Line travellers were hit with a 6.8 per cent average fare increase from January 1, but customers from Riddells Creek have been unable to buy off-peak tickets. 

A PTV spokeswoman said the off-peak option would be restored today and all price differences refunded.

The spokeswoman said off-peak tickets would remain available as part of the change to Myki that will be introduced at all regional stations before the end of the year. Hot-weather speed restrictions are also expected to make trains run slower than usual over the next few days, with heatwave conditions forecast.

Passengers are advised that trains will be slowed by up to 30 minutes when the temperature is forecast to reach 36 degrees celsius.

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