Morwell residents have had more than 13,500 free return trips with V/Line to take a break from the smoky conditions caused by the Hazelwood open cut fire, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today.
With improved air quality and the lifting of the health advisory in Morwell, the last day of the free return travel offer will be tomorrow, Wednesday 19 March.
“Complimentary tickets issued between now and the close of business Wednesday will only be for return travel leaving Morwell by the last train tomorrow,” Mr Mulder said.
“Any residents who already have return tickets can use them for the date they originally chose to head back home.
“V/Line staff came up with the idea of lending a helping hand to the people of Morwell and the Victorian Coalition Government has covered the cost of the initiative.
“For some Morwell residents, it’s been a chance to take a train trip with the family for the first time in years.
“Each day of the Labour Day long weekend, more than 1,000 people travelled from Morwell with V/Line.
"The busiest day was last Friday when 1,300 people had a complimentary trip out of Morwell.”
Member for Morwell Russell Northe said that for some services, V/Line has brought in road coaches to provide extra seats for those taking up the free travel offer.
“Some people have used their free return train travel to take a longer break with relatives and friends in Melbourne or other Victorian regional centres,” Mr Northe said.
“Every Morwell resident who obtained a free ticket from the V/Line staff at Morwell Station has been offered a complimentary return trip as well.”
V/Line Chief Executive Theo Taifalos said his team in the Latrobe Valley has been delighted with the response from the Morwell community and extra staff from other stations have helped out at Morwell.
“We have a very loyal customer base in the Latrobe Valley and it’s been great to be able to give something back to the community,” Mr Taifalos said.