Embarrassingly for the Baillieu Liberal National Government, V/Line’s chief executive has admitted there are not enough carriages or trains to service current demand, blowing the lid off the Minister’s repeated claims that all is fixed with our public transport system, Shadow Public Transport Minister, Fiona Richardson said today.
In a letter dated February 17, 2012, Mr Barnett said:
“As you know we are very tight for rolling stock capacity. It is no secret that V/Line requires more trains in order to meet the demand for its services.”
V/Line’s CEO has confirmed what commuters have understood for months, that the Liberal National Government’s failure to provide a single cent for additional V/Line carriages in last year’s budget is having a direct impact on services.
“Contrary to the Liberal National Government’s constant claims that all is fixed with our public transport system, the head of V/Line has blown the whistle and exposed the truth about the challenges commuters face,” Ms Richardson said.
“Now it’s clear that the only person left who believes the Minister’s spin is the Minister himself.”
The head of V/Line has added his voice to the growing list of people and organisations calling on the Liberal National Government to invest in public transport.
“Commuter frustration on the Warrnambool, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour, and Gippsland lines is rife with daily service delays and cancellations,” Ms Richardson said.
“Mr Mulder has said the ‘buck stops with me’,” she said. “He must now admit his failure to order more V/Line carriages last year and explain what his immediate plans are to fix the problem.”
Mr Barnett’s letter also confirmed that a single collision with an animal is enough to disrupt services, adding:
“The impact of the animal strike is that sometimes the train is damaged causing an unscheduled repair but the train always requires a special wash to clean off the organic matter. This generally results in the vehicle being out of traffic for a couple of days. V/Line has one ranger on its staff & this person has been tasked to report on the issues.”
“The Liberal’s failure to invest in new regional V/Line carriages means that whenever a train is put out of action due to an animal strike, V/Line doesn’t have the rolling stock capacity to replace it and commuters suffer,” Ms Richardson said.
Mr Barnett made these admissions in a letter to Labor MP Geoff Howard who was seeking clarification about train services on behalf of a local constituent.