V/Line operations during COVID-19

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Living nearby to the Ballarat line as I do, I'm wondering, now that COVID-19 protocols have reduced V/Line patronage by around 90%, why is V/Line still running two x 3 car V'Locity sets on every service before around 20:00 from SCS and return when a single V'Locity is more than adequiate for the patronage offering at this time.

At any time of the day if I'm up at the station, around 10 pax are on any given train from Ballarat to Melbourne and viceversa on the DOWN services.

Also, V/Line fare evasion is now rampant as conductors stopped checking tickets several weeks ago and many of the remaining pax are getting free rides to/from their destination.

Mike.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Completely agree vinelander.  The same has been said for metro trains who are still mind you running empty 6 car sets and not running 3 car sets which would be ample.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Are you two blokes actually expecting V Line to behave rationally?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Life comes first.  There is nothing wrong with providing more average personal space unless the demand of a particular service is consistently at or below 3 passengers (obviously you can't separate one person into two cars).
  stu1818 Junior Train Controller

Location: Longwarry, Victoria
Gippsland services very much reduced passenger rate, the last 2 weeks, catching service 8417 (2.20 SSS to traralgon) boarding at dandenong, there has been just me in a sprinter car all the way home to longwarry, and most nights boarding 8421 (16.16 SSS to Traralgon) there has been 36 total people on the train when i have got off at longwarry, including the driver and conductor. These services are usually full to overcrowding every day.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Life comes first.  There is nothing wrong with providing more average personal space unless the demand of a particular service is consistently at or below 3 passengers (obviously you can't separate one person into two cars).
route14

The suggested space between 2 people is two metres. A train carriage is something like 25 metres long. One person per carriage is excessive to say the least.

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
As I posted elsewhere last week a total of 8 pax on my AM Down Swan Hill service on Monday with 5 and a PV from memory. Spoke to the Connie who told me that AM Up commuter services on the Bendigo line which normally carry 4-500 pax are managing 10 - 20 in the 6 car trains.

An insane waste of diesel and other costs.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

A sneeze can spread virus at a speed of 160 km/h if h/she doesn't know how to do it in a civilized way.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Do V/Line & Metro only need to run Sunday/Public Holiday timetables during the week if patronage is so low?
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Saturday TT would be a good place to start.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

You'll need to amend the passenger service charter first, which might take longer than the duration of the pandemic.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

You'll need to amend the passenger service charter first, which might take longer than the duration of the pandemic.
route14
I reckon it would take no longer than a couple of hours.

Three minutes for a secretary to type up the necessary order:

BY PROCLAMATION OF THE GOVERNOR:

1. For the duration of the State of Emergency, The Chief Health Officer is authorised to amend Customer Service Charters of public transport operators within the state of Victoria.

2. The Secretary of the Department of Transport shall comply with directions made by the Chief Health Officer.

3. Public transport operators shall comply with directions made by the Chief Health Officer.

4. Amendments authorised by this proclamation shall lapse 14 days following the recision of the State of Emergency.
Somebody
And then a bit longer for the Governor to sign and seal it.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Government, Metro, Yarra Trams, VLP all asleep at the wheel here.  Saturday timetable with potentially a few peak direction extras should have been implemented weeks ago .  At the same time would give VLP (if somethere would actually MANAGE) the opportunity to catch up on the huge backlog of maintenance deficit on the V/Locity fleet owing to the on going failure by both Government and VLP to provide adequate maintenance facilities to support the increased fleet of 80 plus V/Locity 3 car sets. If as much effort were put into addressing such issues that would actually benefit the poor long suffering punters as is put into removing "dangerous & congested" level crossings things would be a lot better.  Both VLP and Metro should be running reduced consists wherever possible even with social spacing, with 90 % less travelling there is scope to safely run 3 car sets for many trips.  Afterall  VLP coach substitutions are only allowing 20 pax on a 49 seat coach. In VLP case no one cares, Government continues to provide a bottomless bucket of $ to cover so why bother to actually manage the place efficiently as if it were your own business .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Government continues to provide a bottomless bucket of $ to cover so why bother to actually manage the place efficiently as if it were your own business .
kuldalai

Going forward...for many years, Tim Pallas along with Joshy in Canberra are now faced with an interesting set of numbers. I'm not saying the expenditure to support jobs and businesses was wrong...but imagine the outcry if the tables were turned and it was Albo and Jim Chalmers putting this dizzying package of $$ to the peoples house.

Australia is in a unique place regards the pandemic and will never have the financial headache of paying back debt like Japan, UK and USA face.

Nevertheless there will have to be some 'courageous' decisions made in Canberra and on our patch...Spring St over the next few months to start repaying the credit card,.

Mike.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Some destinations are not serviced at all with a Saturday timetable, such as Paynesville.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
You could park the Velocity fleet and run the sprinters only for the amount of patronage there is, and that is taking into account the social distancing requirments.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
A huge uplift in Pax numbers on this morning's AM Down Swan Hill service - I had to share the carriage with 3 other people! Didn't check the rest of the cars this time but it was a huge improvement on last week.

The 20 person Bustitute coach might have been nearing capacity had it been pressed into service!

Trying to reply to / like some of the posts above but just not poss with the site's current problems but to add to Kuldilai's post assuming that VR's country services are still relying on overtime to keep the timetable running to a Sat TT would also save a heap of $$$ in wages and give crews a bit of a rest as well - I'm sure some drivers and others like the constant OT but not everybody does and I have in the past heard of a couple of drivers who would welcome a bit of a rest but keep putting their hands up due to their goodwill towards pax and not wanting to see services cancelled.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

A huge uplift in Pax numbers on this morning's AM Down Swan Hill service - I had to share the carriage with 3 other people! Didn't check the rest of the cars this time but it was a huge improvement on last week.

The 20 person Bustitute coach might have been nearing capacity had it been pressed into service!

Trying to reply to / like some of the posts above but just not poss with the site's current problems but to add to Kuldilai's post assuming that VR's country services are still relying on overtime to keep the timetable running to a Sat TT would also save a heap of $$$ in wages and give crews a bit of a rest as well - I'm sure some drivers and others like the constant OT but not everybody does and I have in the past heard of a couple of drivers who would welcome a bit of a rest but keep putting their hands up due to their goodwill towards pax and not wanting to see services cancelled.
BrentonGolding
at least it is keeping people in jobs.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

A huge uplift in Pax numbers on this morning's AM Down Swan Hill service - I had to share the carriage with 3 other people! Didn't check the rest of the cars this time but it was a huge improvement on last week.

The 20 person Bustitute coach might have been nearing capacity had it been pressed into service!

Trying to reply to / like some of the posts above but just not poss with the site's current problems but to add to Kuldilai's post assuming that VR's country services are still relying on overtime to keep the timetable running to a Sat TT would also save a heap of $$$ in wages and give crews a bit of a rest as well - I'm sure some drivers and others like the constant OT but not everybody does and I have in the past heard of a couple of drivers who would welcome a bit of a rest but keep putting their hands up due to their goodwill towards pax and not wanting to see services cancelled.
at least it is keeping people in jobs.
trainbrain
Early 2019  Ministress put out a Media Release re record number of VLP drivers in training to support new timetable supposed to be introduced late 2019 now deferred to late 2020.  BUT  VLP annual report 2018/19 only shows a net increase around 10 full time equivalent driver positions at 30/06/19 compared to a year earlier.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
In Wellington New Zealand fares aren't being charged at present. I assume it helps to reduce the health risk to transport staff.

I would also argue that in the current climate low patronage is a good thing. The service is available for those who need but they can have as much space as possible to reduce their risk.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Yes, the suggested personal space of 4 metre^2 doesn't mean you must have that density of people.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I reckon most Bendigo trains have 3-6 passengers on them just South of Bendigo at the present time.  And when a 6 car set becomes 3 cars, then no problem...
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Early 2019  Ministress put out a Media Release re record number of VLP drivers in training to support new timetable supposed to be introduced late 2019 now deferred to late 2020.  BUT  VLP annual report 2018/19 only shows a net increase around 10 full time equivalent driver positions at 30/06/19 compared to a year earlier.
kuldalai
Maybe the drivers who were in training some time during the first half of the year were all still in training when June rolled around, or the standards demanded are so high that many did not pass?

I mean, surely a respected institution such as V/Line wouldn't have a revolving door. Would they?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Early 2019  Ministress put out a Media Release re record number of VLP drivers in training to support new timetable supposed to be introduced late 2019 now deferred to late 2020.  BUT  VLP annual report 2018/19 only shows a net increase around 10 full time equivalent driver positions at 30/06/19 compared to a year earlier.
Maybe the drivers who were in training some time during the first half of the year were all still in training when June rolled around, or the standards demanded are so high that many did not pass?

I mean, surely a respected institution such as V/Line wouldn't have a revolving door. Would they?
justapassenger

The apparent low net increase is in part due to the net increase of drivers who have held off retirement and now feel they can be spared due to the upcoming new drivers.

As far as working conditions and remuneration goes, in part due to a strong union... a career as a V/Line driver after around a year of classroom theory and actual on-the-job practical learning with a qualified senior driver is a prestigious position in railway circles.

Mike.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

So you're saying that the "record numbers" of trainees was nothing to crow about because it was actually only just better than replacement rate?

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