By Bonny Burrows
Pakenham trains are officially the worst for punctuality on the Metro train network, data from Public Transport Victoria reveals.
Performance results, released by the public transport statutory authority on Friday, show just over 86 per cent of Pakenham’s service ran on time during the last 12 months.
In comparison, more than 96 per cent of Glen Waverly and more than 95 per cent of Sandringham services operated to schedule.
Member for Bass Brian Paynter wasn’t surprised with the figures and said the problem of train punctuality was regularly raised with his office.
“Even my own kids have expressed their frustrations to me,” Mr Paynter said.
“And it’s not just being late, but also the length of time it takes to get into the city is a constant source of frustration with local commuters,” Mr Paynter said.
He said while Pakenham commuters had accepted the line’s conditions “to a certain extent” it was no good expecting people to use trains that didn’t run to time.
“People rely on transport for employment. They need to know the 8.10am train arrives and leaves at 8.10am otherwise it forces them off public transport and onto our roads which are heavily congested,” Mr Paynter said.
”For others their only means of transport is public transport, and it’s extremely frustrating. They have had enough and it’s a problem that’s simply got worse and needs to be reversed.”
It also posed a safety risk to children waiting at stations for late service, he said.
To combat the issue he would like to see a strict enforcement of train times on the network and a major investment in the crossings east of Dandenong including Main Street and McGregor Road, Pakenham, which hadn’t been upgraded for “many, many years”.
“Signals are down when they don’t need to be, causing traffic congestion,” he said.
“This is not just a problem for locals, but those in neighbouring areas such as Officer, or those travelling through from the country.”
Mr Paynter said the government wasn’t keeping up with the demand of growth corridors such as Pakenham well enough.
He acknowledged it was a massive task, “but it’s their responsibility”.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan did not comment on the cause of the Pakenham line’s delays, but said the government was “doing more” to improve its service.
“We’re removing 12 level crossings between Pakenham and the city, building five new stations, upgrading signalling, and delivering 65 new high-capacity trains,” Ms Allan said.
She said local commuters would also benefit from the $10.9 billion Metro Tunnel, and the resulting designated Pakenham line, “creating space for more frequent, reliable services”.
Public Transport Victoria acting executive director for network service delivery Dean Purkis said Metro had continued to provide punctual services despite significant improvement works and maintenance being carried across the network.