GIPPSLAND // PAKENHAM passengers will be allowed to board V/Line rail services again from the start of next year.
First published in the 11 December 2015 print edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. All dates relative to then.
A timetable change in June saw Pakenham marked as a drop off only service for city-bound trains and pick up only for Gippsland-bound trains.
At the time, a Public Transport Victoria spokesperson said the changes would make the regional network’s rules consistent.
“From Sunday 21 June 2015, customers using Sunbury and Pakenham stations will be required to board Metro services when travelling to and from the city,” a PTV spokesperson said.
“This has long been the case for people using stations such as Sunshine, Broadmeadows and Dandenong.”
Overcrowding on Gippsland line services frequently sees passengers standing between carriages and down aisles on many evening services. Metro passengers taking seats for much of the journey have often been blamed for exacerbating the line’s overcrowding problem.
A Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen investigation early this year found Pakenham line commuters also pay less for travel in zones 1 and 2 on V/Line trains than regional passengers do.
Last week public transport minister Jacinta Allan told the Pakenham Gazette the changes would be reversed from the start of next year with the exception of the 16:16 and 17:37 peak hour services.
“Today’s announcement strikes the right balance,” she said.
“It means Gippsland passengers can get the train home at the busiest times, while giving Pakenham passengers access to the services they want, when there is room.”
The Pakenham passenger issue is divisive. When news of the original change was broken on 1 June at warragulcitizen.com, the article received hundreds of comments and remains WBBC’s most viewed story online for 2015.
A WBBC web poll asked locals if they supported the change. Of 1,093 voter, 73 per cent of respondents said they agreed or largely agreed with preventing Pakenham passengers boarding.
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