The Andrews Labor Government has announced a series of initiatives to boost performance on the Ballarat line in the wake of significant patronage growth, network changes and service reliability that has not met expectations.
Since May there has been a 14 per cent increase in patronage, with thousands more people choosing to catch services on the Ballarat line. At the same time, there has been a 30 per cent increase in services across the V/Line network, and the opening of the largest public transport infrastructure project in Victoria’s history: Regional Rail Link.
The network has struggled with this huge change, particularly on the Ballarat line. The Labor Government recognises this, and is investing the time, energy and funding needed to improve the capacity and reliability of Ballarat services.
Since June, the Labor Government has delivered extra peak hour services and seven new carriages, providing room for more than 800 extra passengers every day. These extra carriages are long overdue, given the previous Liberal Government’s failure to order a single carriage for two years.
At the same time, a series of small but important changes has stabilised the performance of Ballarat services. Punctuality ran at 85.4 per cent in August, up slightly from the previous month.
Today The Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, joined local Labor Members Sharon Knight and Geoff Howard to announce next steps in improving travel for Ballarat line passengers.
Construction of a new passing loop at Rowsley will start within weeks, providing another point for trains to pass each other. This will help services recover from unexpected delays more quickly, improving reliability and punctuality. A new passing loop on the Ballarat line was promised by the previous Liberal Government but never delivered.
Wendouree Station car park will undergo a $2.5 million expansion. The project will add 200 spaces, nearly doubling the capacity of the existing car park.
Minister Allan also provided an update on the progress of the comprehensive timetable review currently being undertaken. The review has identified a range of options to improve the performance of Ballarat line services, including changes to where trains stop, the spacing of services and the way carriages are used across the network.
These options will be developed over the coming months and implemented as part of a new timetable in January next year. Extensive information will be provided to passengers in the coming months, as service details are finalised.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“Patronage is booming and the performance of Ballarat services isn’t up to scratch. That’s why we have added services, added carriages and reviewed the timetable make services more reliable.”
“Improvements for Ballarat line passengers will continue over the coming months, with work starting on the new Rowsley passing loop and car park expansion in Wendouree, and a new, more reliable timetable in January.
Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard
“The Andrews Labor Government is investing the time, energy and funding we need to deliver the frequent and reliable services our growing community needs.”
Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight
“Ballarat services need to improve – we recognise that. That’s why we’re doing what the former Government didn’t to boost capacity, boost reliability and make it easier to park at the station and catch the train.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020