It seems we have gone back to the Dark Ages. Melbourne used to run a summer timetable for a few weeks between Christmas and Australia Day (or thereabouts) account the desire to give as many staff summer leave as possible coupled with a drop in demand for travel with many regular commuters (workers and students) away on holiday also.
That was scrapped a few years back as it had become increasingly a fiasco of severely overcrowded trains and irate customers. In the main it was peak services which were cut; the off-peak service was left largely alone.
Now, for more than a month, Metro sees fit to slash services by at least half across the board at most times of day. This does not refer to those interruptions to normal service to accommodate upgrades and level crossing works (as examples) but for example on the busy Frankston line which has a 10-minute headway through the day the service is being cut to every 20 minutes all day every day.
That is a lower level of service than has been offered in many years for weekday travel. The base timetable had been every 15 minutes until enhanced by Metro to every 10 recently.
I can see no justification for such draconian cuts.
By all means allow as many staff some summer leave as possible and alter the peak service slightly if you have to. There are fewer passengers travelling through January but the number has steadily climbed across recent years and more than once has resulted in hasty reinstatement of services due to the overcrowding caused.
If one train is cancelled the service interval will now blow out from 10 minutes on the normal timetable to 40. That is not acceptable in my opinion and I dare say not in that of many others who use the service daily.
For what it's worth the "Summer Timetable" also shows the last up train of the day leaving Frankston at 5.42pm and the last train down from the City at 7.53pm. There is no reference to "normal evening service applies" so are we to also assume there will be no evening trains at all??? A casual user may well not think to cross-check the full timetable if they are directed to this summer service because of their date of travel. What sort of advertisement is this for our trains? This is failing to prepare and is preparing to fail.
Andrew Lezala appeared on TV news bulletins tonight explaining the service cuts. His line was that they are necessary to allow RRL works. That does not apply to the Frankston line nor to many others similarly affected. Lezala offered an unconvincing line in corporate hogwash which did nothing to lend credibility to his leadership.