V/Line commuters frustrated by lack of seats

A CROWDED V/Line train travelling from Melbourne to Traralgon last Friday caused frustration for some commuters who were forced to stand.

Passengers on the 3.19pm train were advised at Southern Cross Station to prepare for a busy service and were asked to make all seats available by removing bags and other items from seats.

The lack of seating during busy times is a common occurrence, and in this instance some commuters, including children, had to stand for up to 20 minutes until seats became available.

A V/Line spokesperson told the Gippsland Times that Friday’s service was a three-carriage VLocity, with a total of 220 seats.

“The 3.19pm V/Line train from Southern Cross to Traralgon is typically a busy service, and demand sometimes increases during school holidays,” the spokesperson said.

“That is why our conductors remind customers to keep bags off seats and not to block the aisles.”

The spokesperson said while every effort was made to accommodate passengers, seats could not be guaranteed.

“Our patronage figures show the busiest part of the journey was between Dandenong and Pakenham, with some customers standing for around 20 minutes,” the V/Line spokesperson said.

“Like many public transport systems internationally, V/Line cannot guarantee that every customer will have a seat for their entire journey during peak travel periods on our commuter lines, such as Traralgon.”

When asked by the Gippsland Times why additional carriages had not been added to the busy service, the spokesperson said all vacant carriages had been made available.

“V/Line already uses every available carriage on our services and we closely monitor the demand for seats on peak services, to ensure that the highest capacity trains are used where they are most needed,” the spokesperson said.

“The first nine new VLocity train carriages have already been added to the V/Line fleet, with another 34 to come by the end of 2016.

“This will boost our VLocity train fleet by more than 32 per cent.”

The spokesperson said all services across the network would be considered as part of the next timetable review.