MAY marked the one of the worst punctuality results for trains on the Bendigo line in more than two years.
Almost 77 per cent of Bendigo rail services arrived at their destination on time last month, according to V/Line.
The result is the third worst on record along the line since August 2014, with Bendigo V/Line punctuality at an all-time low of 64.2 per cent in January 2016.
Just over a third of trains were on time in January this year – 75.4 per cent.
Bendigo line services last exceeded the punctuality target of 92 per cent in May 2015, at 94.9 per cent.
They came close the following month, at 91.5 per cent, but have since struggled to exceed 90 per cent.
The last time services on the Bendigo line were within range of the target was September 2017, with 91 per cent punctuality.
Trains on the Bendigo line are considered punctual within six minutes of their scheduled arrival time.
V/Line acting chief executive officer Carol-Anne Nelson described May’s punctuality results as disappointing.
Reasons given for the decline in timely services included trespasser and police-related incidents, and delays.
Just over 79 per cent of services were on time across the V/Line network in May – V/Line’s busiest month on record, according to Ms Nelson.
“We’re working closely with Metro Trains to better integrate our trains with metropolitan services and what we can do to reduce the amount of time trains are stopping at stations as patronage continues to grow,” she said.
(INFOGRAPHIC: V/Line Bendigo line performance data to May 2018)
TRAINS on the Bendigo line have just scraped through for reliability, exceeding V/Line’s target of 96 per cent by a fraction.
In May, 96.6 per cent of rail services on the Bendigo line went ahead.
Reliability was at 97.5 per cent the month prior.
V/Line services only just exceeded the target across the whole service last month, with a combined total of 96.1 per cent.
Regional rail services have come under scrutiny from media organisations recently following a number of service disruptions and adjustments attributed to ‘staff sickness’.
Three services on the Bendigo line were cancelled or replaced with road coaches on Wednesday.
They were among more than 20 disrupted or terminated services across four lines, also including Ballarat, Geelong and Seymour.
Public Transport Minister and Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan told the Bendigo Advertiser today she had asked Public Transport Victoria to work with V/Line to better manage the issue, because it was ‘incredibly frustrating for passengers’.
“V/Line have advised that a number of staff have called in sick, particularly in the middle of this week with the advent of winter,” Ms Allan said.
”We are undertaking a big recruitment of drivers, and already some drivers have already started and there’s more to come over the coming months.
“But we do need to make sure that these things are managed as best as they can so that passengers continue to get the passenger services they need.”
Staff sickness was not cited by V/Line as a factor in the drop in service punctuality along the Bendigo line, or reliability.
“Compared to previous months we encountered a higher number of one-off delays during the peak periods which had a major impact on our monthly performance right across the V/Line network,” a V/Line spokesperson said when asked why punctuality had declined.
“There was a noticeable increase in trespasser incidences and vandalism events affecting Bendigo trains, and more delays than usual on tracks shared with metropolitan trains.
“Flow-on delays from other corridors can sometimes impact on the Bendigo line, for example where carriages used to deliver Bendigo line services are also used to deliver services in other parts of Victoria.”
May saw more than 1.8 million passenger trips across the V/Line network.
V/Line acting chief executive Carol-Anne Nelson said the organisation was working hard to meet continued service growth.
- with Adam Holmes
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