Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, and Liberal Member for Murray, the Hon. Dr Sharman Stone, held productive meetings with the Premier Daniel Andrews, V/Line management and Public Transport Victoria on Thursday, February 5.
The MPs key focus was the train services for Wodonga-Melbourne and Shepparton-Seymour.
Mr Andrews understood the issues and importance of the need for a more efficient and better scheduled set of services for both lines. He described the services as “critically important” and was aware of how the service was restricting travel for residents to and from Melbourne.
“The Premier agreed the services need to be improved and that there was no point simply apportioning blame for past problems,” Dr Stone said.
Mr Andrews told Ms McGowan and Dr Stone he was committed to completing a state railway strategy, including rural and regional infrastructure and services.
Public Transport Victoria CEO Mark Wild informed the MPs a draft Regional Network Development Plan would be with Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allan, for consideration within six months.
Mr Wild also committed to formulate a community consultation process to provide crucial information with a regional perspective for the draft plan.
In the meeting with V/Line CEO Theo Taifalos, the MPs told him better communication was essential for informing passengers what is happening with the daily service.
Ms McGowan and Dr Stone boarded the V/Line train this morning and spoke to passengers and staff along the journey. Feedback from the passengers suggested more work has to be done to lift the service to an acceptable standard.
“There is strong support for the train service; however, timeliness, comfort and scheduling are issues people want addressed,” Ms McGowan said.
Dr Stone took the 6pm XPT back to Euroa and Ms McGowan will catch the 8.30am to Wangaratta on Friday.