Dandenong line frequency cuts cause turmoil

Crowded train waiting at a platform. Some passengers have chosen not to board.

The PTUA is alarmed about cuts in the frequency of trains on Melbourne’s busiest rail lines, only days after the completion of works which were supposed to improve services.

Having endured the closure of the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines for almost a month to allow the installation of new rail equipment, passengers have had their travel disrupted by numerous train cancellations since the lines were reopened.

PTV and Metro have advertised that peak train frequencies between Dandenong and the city have been cut from roughly every 4 minutes to every 6-7 minutes.

However, passengers have told the PTUA that the gap between trains has blown out to more than every 10 minutes or worse, resulting in severe overcrowding, and passengers left behind on platforms.

Cancellations, service alterations and delays have also lasted well beyond peak hours, including into the evenings, in some cases resulting in 30-40 minute waits between trains.

Also concerning is contradictory information being provided to passengers. Disruption notices direct passengers to plan ahead using the official PTV journey planner, but the journey planner has not been updated to reflect the reduced schedule.

Quotes attributable to Daniel Bowen, PTUA media spokesperson:

“Upgrades are very welcome. But this has clearly not gone to plan, and PTV and Metro need to be clearer about the causes of these disruptions, and ensure that accurate timely information is provided to passengers.

“Every effort should be made to fix the problem as soon as possible, and to minimise delays and crowding, including outside peak hours.”

Media coverage of this issue: Herald Sun 5/2/2023: Hi-tech bugs hit trains (Paywall)