RACV's On Track survey reveals commuter pain
RACV’s 2019 On Track survey results are in and they show that safety, overcrowding and service quality are key concerns for Victorian rail commuters.
More than 24,500 train users from across Victoria took part in the On Track survey in November last year. They were asked to rate their satisfaction of the state’s 311 PTV train stations against key criteria, such as insufficient facilities, lack of cleanliness and car park availability, with the results to help RACV advocate for rail network improvements.
Hawkstowe, a new station built in 2018 as part of the Mernda line extension, took out the top spot in the biannual survey, scoring a rating of nine out of 10. South Kensington in Melbourne’s West was the state’s worst-rated station, with respondents complaining about inadequate shelter, safety, car parking facilities and overcrowding.
The results also show that safety is still a concern for rail commuters, with 11 per cent of Victorians feeling unsafe at their local station. Approximately 64 per cent of respondents said they felt unsafe at South Kensington – the worst-rated station – as well as one in two people at Broadmeadows.
RACV Senior Manager Transport, Peter Kartsidimas, said urgent investment in the rail network was needed to help improve train stations and services.
“Melbourne’s population growth is being felt across the entire transport network and we need greater investment in public transport to help ease the pressure on commuters,” Mr Kartsidimas said.
“It’s no surprise that congestion on Melbourne’s road network is getting worse, but we also need to fix congestion on our rail with over a quarter of Victorians (27 per cent) experiencing overcrowding on their service.
“Almost half of the respondents indicated they drive to their local station, so it is not surprising that 19 per cent of respondents struggle to find a parking spot. As the population continues to boom, we need genuine alternatives for getting to the station including reliable bus connections and better walking and cycling paths,” he said.
When asked if they would be willing to pay an additional $2 for more parking options, 41 per cent of respondents were open to the idea, particularly at Camberwell, Frankston and Heidelberg.
“Other issues highlighted in the 2019 On Track survey included inadequate shelter and insufficient lighting. There are inexpensive solutions to these problems that can improve many users’ experience.”
But Mr Kartsidimas said it wasn’t all gloom and doom for the rail network.
“The Level Crossing Removal program has made a significant impact on commuter satisfaction, with stations completed by 2019 receiving positive scores, as demonstrated by Carnegie, which was in the bottom 10 in 2017 and is now the second-best rated station in the state.
“More than 24,500 Victorians felt passionately about their experience on the rail network and had their say in the RACV On Track survey, and the results speak for themselves. An easy, efficient and reliable commute plays an important part in maintaining Victoria’s liveability,” he said.
Read the full survey results.