V/Line: Ballarat East electorate services
The Bracks government marked a rebirth of regional rail services. Not only were country lines that had been closed under the Kennett government reopened to Maryborough and Ararat, but the lines from the major regional cities of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong were significantly upgraded and serviced by new modern V/Locity trains under the regional fast rail project. This huge improvement was very well received by regional commuters and occasional rail travellers, which was demonstrated by a significant increase in patronage on these regional rail services.
Therefore it is very distressing to see that under the Baillieu government these V/Line services are already in decline. Overcrowding has become an issue, and this government has been slow to order new rolling stock to address the overcrowding.
Recently the Baillieu government changed the timetables to give metropolitan services priority over regional rail services. Regional commuters have informed me that they are now losing up to an hour more of their day, because they have to leave home up to half an hour earlier and return home half an hour later than they used to, as the new timetable sees most services departing earlier, with longer and less reliable travel times.
I have been contacted by a mother in Ballarat who can no longer get to Melbourne for work at 9.00 a.m. and get her child to child care, as the only train to arrive at Southern Cross station by 9.00 a.m. now leaves before 7.00 a.m., which is before the child-care centre opens. I have also heard from commuters in Kyneton who have to catch trains earlier only to find that their journey is still not reliably getting them to Southern Cross station on time.