WEEKEND train services will run all night on Friday and Saturday nights on the Frankston line from January next year as part of a public transport trial announced by the Labor state government.
On Thursday last week Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan announced a one-year trial, starting on New Year’s Eve, to gauge demand for weekend night-time services across Victoria’s rail network including the Frankston line.
“A world-class city deserves 24-hour public transport. It’s good for our economy, for shift workers and for people who want to get home safe after a night out,” Ms Allan said. “People who live in the outer suburbs and regional areas shouldn’t have to miss out on Melbourne’s vibrant night life. This trial is about giving them a safe and affordable way to get home.”
The last train to Frankston from Melbourne on Friday and Saturday evenings currently leaves Flinders St Station at 1.05am. Metro Trains will run services every hour all night from Flinders St Station to suburbs and regional areas as part of the trial, dubbed ‘Homesafe’, but Mornington Peninsula residents will miss out on overnight train transport at weekends with the Stony Point line not included in the 12-month trial.
The Homesafe trial was a pre-election promise made by Premier Daniel Andrews before winning government. Liberal opposition treasury spokesman Michael O’Brien criticised a “budget blow-out of $33.6 million” for the weekend all-night public transport trial.
The Andrews government confirmed last week that the trial will cost $83.6 million and not $50 million as previously advised before last year’s state election.
Mr O’Brien also accused Labor of breaking its promise to have all train stations manned by protective services officers during the 12-month trial, with the Andrews government now advising PSOs will only be stationed at “premium stations” all night.
“By cutting PSOs from all but premium stations during the trial, Daniel Andrews is undermining community safety and putting lives at risk,” Mr O’Brien said.
The government’s announcement of the Homesafe trial stated: “Exact timetable details will be worked out with Public Transport Victoria and system operators” and “a revamped and improved night bus network” will provide services from train stations including Frankston.
The state government did not respond to questions before deadline about when and where night-time buses would travel from Frankston train station.