AN AUDIT of passenger numbers on Frankston line trains during the month of May has found too many passengers were squeezed onto Frankston line trains on six occasions during morning 7-9am peak time services.
Public Transport Victoria conducts a passenger load survey each May and October to assess overcrowding on trains across the state’s rail network. The latest survey, released this month, “recorded a total of six services in the AM Peak period where passenger loads did not meet PTV standards”.
The overcrowding comes despite Metro Trains introducing two new train services during the AM peak travel period in the 12 months since the May 2014 survey.
Greens South-Eastern Metropolitan Upper House MP Nina Springle said the PTV data shows Frankston line trains “are amongst the most overloaded on the network”.
“One third of passengers travelling along the Frankston line in the morning peak are on overloaded trains,” Ms Springle said.
“This isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. It’s no wonder that the roads are gridlocked when the trains are overflowing and unreliable.”
Public Transport Victoria said it is working with public transport operators “to constantly improve and refine timetables, to reduce overcrowding on trains at peak times”.
“Since 2012, we have introduced more than 200 extra peak period trains per week to help ease train crowding, and have added more than 650 extra weekly train trips to timetables,” PTV spokesman Nicholas White said.
“Several major projects are currently underway to help reduce overcrowding on the metropolitan rail network including the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, the removal of 50 level crossings and the introduction of high capacity Metro trains on the Cranbourne/Pakenham corridor.”
Mr White said a further five X’Trapolis trains due to be on the tracks next year will “provide more services across the network and meet the challenges, increasing use of the train network presents”.
Ms Springle said rail line infrastructure upgrades are also needed to ease congestion.
We need to start planning the rollout of modern train signals, as the ancient system in place now is unreliable and can’t fit enough services into the morning and afternoon peak periods,” she said.
Frankston line commuters were frustrated last Thursday morning (12 November) after several train services between 7.25am and 8.50am.
Metro Trains spokeswoman Pauline O’Connor said three citybound and three outbound services were cancelled due to an incident on the rail line near Sandown Park station delaying rostered drivers, two because of train faults and one due to an ill passenger.
“We always try to inform our customers as soon as we are aware of any service alterations, including through station announcements, our website and MetroNotify app,” Ms O’Connor said.
“Only one of these six cancellations was advised through our website and MetroNotify app, and we apologise to customers for this inconvenience.”
The PTV passenger load survey found no services were overcrowded in the afternoon peak period in May on the Frankston line.
One extra service was added in the afternoon peak time since the survey conducted in May the previous year.