COMMUTERS travelling between Gippsland and Melbourne by rail will see no drop in ticket prices despite the state government slashing metropolitan ticket prices.
First published in the 16 January 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Customers travelling in myki ticket zones 1 and 2, which covers stations between the Melbourne CBD and Pakenham, enjoyed a ticket cost drop of around $5 on a full fare daily ticket at the start of the month.
There was however no drop in the cost of travelling from regional areas to the city despite those journeys travelling through the discounted zones. In fact, fares increased with CPI on 1 January.
Travel on V/Line services in metropolitan zones is restricted to prevent most metropolitan passengers boarding regional services, however such rules do not apply to those travelling between Melbourne and stations at the end of Zone 2, for example Pakenham which is serviced both by the Gippsland regional line and Pakenham metropolitan line. The reduction of Zone 1 and 2 fares with no change to regional fares covering the same zones means passengers travelling only between Pakenham and Melbourne during peak periods now pay less than half as much as those travelling further east do for travel in those two zones.
The Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen has been told there are no changes planned for Gippsland line services.
WBBC asked a spokesperson for Public Transport Victoria – the body responsible for overseeing public transport in Victoria – whether there would be a review into continuing to allow Pakenham commuters on V/Line services given the price difference and the high number of seats taken by Zone 2 commuters on overcrowded evening peak services.
“PTV continuously reviews how the public transport system can be strengthened or improved as part of its regular business activity,” the spokesperson replied.
“Community feedback regarding how PTV can improve service provision is always welcome.”
The spokesperson added some V/Line commuters on the Ballarat line had benefited from the changes and suggested Gippsland line customers buy in bulk to make savings.
“V/Line customers travelling beyond Zone 2 can also receive heavily discounted myki passes. Customers travelling from Southern Cross to Traralgon can purchase a 70 day myki pass at a cost of $12.16 a day. This is only slightly above what the cost of a Zone 1 and 2 daily fare was prior to the reduction in Zone 1 and 2 pricing ($12.12).”
myki passes require payment for all days between the start and end of the pass period regardless of whether any trips are made. They are also available to Zone 1 and 2 commuters.
A spokesperson for Victorian public transport minister Jacinta Allan did not respond to questions from the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen on why regional fares were not reduced with the metropolitan reduction, whether or not the department believed it was time to review allowing customers who could catch Metro services to travel with V/Line and whether Labor would reduce regional fares.
The spokesperson did, however, say the introduction of the free tram zone in the Melbourne CBD could benefit Gippslanders staying in Melbourne for more than one night.
“Labor has already got to work fixing our public transport system, introducing cheaper fares through the free tram zone and the elimination of Zone 1+2 tickets, which will directly benefit regional visitors to Melbourne,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson for the public transport minister said detailed planning for Homesafe – the 2am bus service to regional centres promised by Labor – was underway.
Ticketing and other service details are yet to be determined.
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