LABOR candidate for Benambra Jennifer Podesta has vowed to push her party to commit to improving the North East’s V/Line service.
Ms Podesta says despite some improvement with the line’s reliability and performance, people still raised it with her as a major issue for the region.
Yesterday she took her cause to the rails, travelling from Wodonga to Melbourne on the 12.55pm service and speaking with passengers about their concerns.
Among them were Wodonga’s Julie Ramm, on board to get to last night’s AFL match.
Ms Ramm said while the trains usually left on time — yesterday included — they were still often late arriving to their destination.
She doubted claims of improved services; recent figures have stated 94 per cent of services ran on time, up from 78 per cent in February.
“There’s a problem with the trains just going straight past ... and if they’re going to run a bus instead it would be nice to know,” she said.
Another issue was the high cost — $66 return for herself — which almost made it cheaper to drive.
Other passengers such as Leon Dickinson, from Thurgoona, were just pleased the service was better than it used to be.
“Everyone wants new things, it would be nice to have better carriages, but I think most people are just happy if they get the time right,” he said.
Ms Podesta acknowledged a lot of work had been undertaken on the line and there had been major improvements.
“But it’s still an issue being raised with me all the time,” she said.
“As a regional hub we need a good service, it needs to be equal to that of Bendigo or Ballarat.
“I will be asking Daniel Andrews and the ALP to make a commitment to bring the service up to standard.”
Ms Podesta’s pledge comes the same week that federal member for Indi Cathy McGowan — who last year also conducted a “train convoy” to highlight issues around rail services — called on the state government to make a firm commitment to improving the line.