A GROUP of frustrated Pakenham commuters have taken matters into their own hands, conducting a survey they hope will attract action from the State Government.
In June, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) barred Pakenham commuters from utilising the faster V/Line service to and from Melbourne in a bid to end “inequity” between metro and regional passengers.
The Pakenham V/Line Commuters Group was formed to fight against the timetable changes.
Two weeks ago, organisers of the group launched a survey to more accurately measure the impact these changes have had on commuters.
Pakenham commuter and group organiser Ben Lewis said he hoped the results of the survey would illustrate the severity of the issue.
“We intend to present the results of the survey to the government, PTV and V/Line to show how this knee-jerk reaction has not only affected people living in Pakenham, but also how it has disadvantaged commuters that come to use the service from surrounding areas such as Kooweerup, Lang Lang, Poowong and Cockatoo,” he said.
Of the 124 responses received by Monday 3 August, 69 per cent of those surveyed said they were still using the V/Line service and would continue to do so until the new rules were enforced beginning 1 January next year.
The replies also reflected that 25 per cent used the Pakenham V/Line service but lived outside of Pakenham and 85 per cent said that they felt the time taken to travel on the Metro train between Pakenham and the city was too long.
Mr Lewis said the response from the government had been disappointing.
“I am extremely disappointed with the responses we have been receiving from the Labor government and PTV because they simply seem to be ignoring what we have to say and are sending back a standard cut and paste response, if they decide to respond at all,” he said.
He said the responses had been much more promising from MPs Brad Battin and David Hodgett, who have both provided advice in fighting for the reversal of the decision.
Commuter Dean Sgarbossa said access to the V/Line service had a major impact the lives of Pakenham passengers.
“The V/Line service means that Pakenham and surrounding residents save on average 40 minutes of commuting a day, which has economic health and family benefits.”
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