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Media Release


Train Services Slashed - Regulator Must Do His Job or Go, Say Users

The Public Transport Users Association has condemned this week's timetable revision by Connex which includes a service reduction to Eltham and Hurstbridge.

PTUA Secretary Vaughan Williams said that the service to Hurstbridge was already below the standard required in Connex's contract and should not have been allowed to get worse. The PTUA was particularly disappointed that the change had been allowed without the approval of the Public Transport Customer Charter Committee.

"Connex tried to sneak this change through the process, but the PTUA was vigilant enough to detect the service cut. We made strong representations to the Director of Public Transport and asked for the changes to be deferred until the PTCCC could consider them properly, but our advice was ignored," said Mr Williams.

Mr Williams said that the Transport Minister, Peter Batchelor, had described the PTCCC as "the government's key advisory body on public transport" but despite this the Minister, the Department and the private operators do not take the process seriously.

"This service cut is the latest symptom of a dysfunctional regulatory process. Since the privatisation of public transport, despite government guarantees to the contrary, fares have increased faster than the rate of inflation, timetable changes (including several service cuts) have been approved without consulting the PTCCC and there is no genuine progress towards the introduction of various commitments made by the government and the operators."

"The blame for the deterioration of quality and accountability in public transport must fall squarely on the Director of Public Transport, John Taylor. Mr Taylor is meant to be supervising the operators and ensuring that the Victorian taxpayer gets value for money. Let's not forget that hundreds of millions of dollars in public money is handed over every year in return for certain standards of service."

"At an absolute minimum, Mr Taylor must take immediate action to enforce the contractual standards that operators are required to deliver. If he is unable or unwilling to do this, then he must resign or be sacked in favour of somebody who can," concluded Mr Williams

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 25 July 2001