‘Give drivers rapid tests’
V/Line’s reliability plummeted to a record low last month, including trains along the north east line.
More than a third of regional services were cancelled and 300 V/Line workers were forced into isolation during September, after a Yarra Trams worker tested positive for COVID-19, spiralling the network into chaos.
The Seymour line recorded its lowest reliability figures since February 2020 with only 87.8 per cent of all V/Line services delivered and 59 services cancelled.
Reliability on the AlburyWodonga line also dropped to 33.3 per cent, with 80 services cancelled.
State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said the government’s failure to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak had left the entire V/Line network at a standstill.
“Commuters have endured another horror month on Victoria’s public transport network, with reliability performance plummeting to a record low,” Ms Ryan said.
“All of V/Line’s regional train lines failed to meet their 96 per cent reliability target, with eight of the 11 lines recording their worst ever reliability figures.
“Thousands of services were cancelled last month as a result of the... government’s failure to prepare the network for a COVID-19 outbreak.
“The (state) government has had 18 months to safeguard the state’s public transport network. It is due to their ineptitude that regional travellers are being stranded.
“The train driver who seeded last month’s outbreak was asymptomatic.
“Rapid testing could have stopped the virus in its tracks and kept Victoria’s trains on track.
“It is inevitable that at some point, we will see more cases of community transmission on our trains, trams and buses.
“Rapid testing would give Victorian passengers that extra layer of protection and ensure that commuters can get to where they need to be.
“The... government must introduce rapid testing as a matter of urgency to keep Victorian trains and trams on track and to stop this from happening again.”
A State Government Spokesperson said it was working closely with the Department of Health to ensure the safety of all Victorians — and that new V/Locity trains, which were ready for use this year, would improve reliability.
“We have kept the public transport network running safely for over 18 months to help Victorians get to where they need to go,” the spokesperson said.
“The first standard-gauge VLocity train is completing track tests on the North-East Line before taking passengers later this year.
“We’re proud to be delivering these trains to the North-East Line to provide better, more comfortable and more reliable services for passengers.”