2019 RACV On Track Survey Results

The results are in. More than 24,500 of you participated in our biennial On Track survey, sharing unique insights into the condition of Victoria’s train services and stations. With significant rail projects underway and more planned, your feedback helped us identify the biggest pain-points and concerns for rail commuters to advocate for change and improvements across the network. 

The top performers

The train station ratings relate to the experience you have at your station. We asked you to rate the station you selected out of 10, with 10 being “very satisfied” and 1 being “very dissatisfied.”

Factors included the perception of:

  • convenience
  • safety
  • comfort
  • access

Rank

Station

Score

Line

Metro/Regional

1

Hawkstowe

9

Mernda

Metro

2

Carnegie

8.61

Cranbourne, Pakenham

Metro

3

Middle Gorge

8.48

Mernda

Metro

4

Rosanna

8.34

Hurstbridge

Metro

5

Bentleigh

8.32

Frankston

Metro

6

Southland

8.22

Frankston

Metro

7

Ormond

8.21

Frankston

Metro

8

Bayswater

8.16

Belgrave

Metro

9

Gardiner

8.16

Glen Waverley

Metro

10

Mernda 

8.15

Mernda

Metro

*<20 submissions received in 2019 On Track Survey.


Level Crossing Removal project proves a success

Carnegie, Rosanna, Bentleigh, Ormond, Bayswater and Gardiner were all rebuilt as part of the level crossing removal program and all appear in the Top 10 highest-rated stations. This demonstrates a promising trend in commuter satisfaction as a result of the project.

In the 2017 On Track survey, Carnegie Station received a rating of 4.68, making it the 9th lowest-rated station. Since its reopening in June 2018 as part of the Grange Road level crossing removal, Carnegie Station now boasts an impressive elevated structure and open spaces for the community. These changes have drastically improved the station’s 2019 rating, becoming the 2nd best station in the state with a rating of 8.61.

Bentleigh and Ormond Stations were within the top 10 highest-rated stations for both the 2017 and 2019 surveys. Like Carnegie, these stations were rebuilt as a part of the level crossing removal program and were re-opened in 2016 prior to the 2017 survey.

Aerial view of Carnegie train station in 2019 following station redevelopment
Aerial view of Carnegie train station in 2017 prior to station redevelopment

Year 2017

Year 2019

Carnegie Station upgrade


Commuters reap the rewards of the Mernda rail extension

Hawkstowe Station – constructed as part of the Mernda rail extension – has come out on top in the survey results with the highest station and service rating among respondents.

Opened in August 2018, you praised Hawkstowe for its cleanliness, proximity to home and good lighting.

Middle Gorge and Mernda – also built as part of the extension from South Morang – yielded strong results as well, ranking in the top 10 highest-rated stations in Victoria.

Aerial view of Hawkstowe train station in 2019 following station redevelopment
Aerial view of Hawkstowe train station in 2017 prior to station redevelopment

Year 2017

Year 2019

Hawkstowe Station build

The train service ratings relate to the experience you have on the train, represented here in terms of where you’re traveling from. We asked you to rate the services at your station out of 10, with 10 being “very satisfied” and 1 being “very dissatisfied.”

Factors included:

  • frequency of services
  • crowding
  • carriage cleanliness and feel

Rank

Station

Score

Line

Metro/Regional

1

Hawkstowe

8.50

Mernda

Metro

2

Sandringham

7.97

Sandringham

Metro

3

Rosanna

7.96

Hurstbridge

Metro

4

Brighton Beach

7.94

Sandringham

Metro

5

Mernda

7.93

Mernda

Metro

6

Middle Gorge

7.90

Mernda

Metro

7

Southland

7.88

Frankston

Metro

8

Darling

7.83

Glen Waverley

Metro

9

Kyneton

7.83

Echuca, Swan Hill

Regional

10

Kangaroo Flat

7.77

Echuca, Swan Hill

Regional

*<20 submissions received in 2019 On Track Survey.

Similar to the station rankings, half the stations in the top 10 list for services are new or have been rebuilt as a part of the Level Crossing Removal project. This is proof that government investment in transport services and infrastructure can change the perception of a station’s physical environment and its service.

The Mernda Rail Extension provided new stations and services to the growing areas of South Morang, Doreen, Mernda and the outer north. Not only has the extension project given commuters new, satisfying stations, you’ve also let us know that it’s delivering great service, boasting three of the Top 10 highest-ranked train services.

The Sandringham Line also produced positive results, with train services at Sandringham and Brighton Beach stations featured in this year’s top 10. Pleasingly, Brighton Beach Station’s service rating has been consistently high, maintaining its top 10 standing since the 2017 On Track Survey.

A case for paid parking?

Other findings revealed that many Victorians are willing to pay to get easier access to train stations.

We asked respondents who drive to the station whether they would be willing to pay $2 for more car parking to be available at the station.

  • 41% answered “Yes”
  • 14% answered “Unsure”
  • 45% answered “No”

Camberwell Station regulars proved most eager, with 74% of respondents saying they would pay $2 for more parking to be available. Over 65% of respondents at Frankston, Heidelberg, Caulfield and Mount Waverley Stations were also supportive.

The worst performers

Rank

Station

Score

Line

Metro/Regional

1

South Kensington

2.48

Werribee, Williamstown

Metro

2

Aircraft

3.43

Werribee

Metro

3

Donnybrook

3.44

Albury, Shepparton

Metro

4

Hastings

3.50

Stony Point

Metro

5

Broadmeadows

3/74

Craigieburn

Metro

6

Jacana

3.76

Craigieburn

Metro

7

Ruthven

3.96

Mernda

Metro

8

Tarneit

4.27

Warrnambool

Metro

9

Officer

4.41

Pakenham

Metro

10

Beaconsfield

4.42

Pakenham

Metro

*<20 submissions received in 2019 On Track Survey.

Train pulling up at Kensington Station platform.

Poor access now a state-wide issue

Survey results indicate that people living in the outer suburbs of Melbourne need easier ways to get to their train stations, with Aircraft, Donnybrook, Tarneit, Officer and Beaconsfield all rated within the bottom 10.

Melbourne’s booming population, combined with little investment in public transport or car parking, has led to this result. This is a cautionary tale for Melbourne’s growth areas; where greater consideration for accessibility and transport is needed before people move into these suburbs, not after.

60% of respondents who were car drivers told us that better public transport would make them consider other ways of getting to the station (instead of driving). Participants – particularly in regional Victoria – told us they have no other option but to drive to their station.  

 

The repeat offenders

South Kensington is the lowest ranked station of 2019. It has serious issues, with many respondents telling us they feel unsafe and that there’s not enough shelter and toilet facilities. No station in any previous has rated lower than South Kensington.

Aircraft, Donnybrook, Broadmeadows and Ruthven Stations also need attention. These stations have received significantly low ratings in previous On Track surveys and have continued to decline.

  • Aircraft is the only station to be in the bottom 10 in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 RACV On Track survey results. Donnybrook, Broadmeadows and Ruthven featured in the bottom 10 in both 2017 and 2019.  

Safety a key concern

Many of you told us you don’t feel safe at certain times of the day, and don’t feel safe or secure using your station’s car park.

This was most prominent at South Kensington Station, with 64% of respondents saying they didn’t feel safe at certain times of the day.

Rank

Station

Score

Line

Metro/Regional

1

Gowrie

3.64

Upfield

Metro

2

Wodonga

3.78

Albury

Regional

3

Fawkner

3.88

Upfield

Metro

4

Wangaratta

3.95

Albury

Regional

5

Merlynston

4.05

Upfield

Metro

6

Albury

4.17

Albury

Regional

7

Hastings

4.30

Stony Point

Metro

8

South Kensington

4.40

Werribee, Williamstown

Metro

9

Batman

4.45

Upfield

Metro

10

Tarneit

4.58

Warrnambool

Regional

*<20 submissions received in 2019 On Track Survey.

Upfield line

Gowrie Station had the lowest rated service in the 2019 On Track survey. The key issues raised at Gowrie were infrequent services and trains not being on time.

Other services on the Upfield line, namely at Fawkner, Merlynston and Batman Stations, also rated poorly. You told us you are unhappy with infrequent and late trains from these stations and want to see government investment in the network to supply more frequent and reliable services.

Albury/Wodonga line

Wodonga, Wangaratta and Albury all rated poorly for service, with many respondents telling us they are tired of cancellations, late trains, bus/coach replacements and infrequent services.

The regional roundup


Top 5 regional stations

Rank

Station

Score

Line

1

Camperdown

8.10

Warrnambool

2

Epsom

8.10

Echuca

3

Castlemaine

8.03

Echuca, Swan Hill

4

Waurn Ponds

8.02

Warrnambool

5

Drouin

7.99

Bairnsdale


Bottom 5 regional stations

Rank

Station

Score

Line

1

Shepparton

5.02

Albury

2

Warrnambool

5.95

Warrnambool

3

Marshall

5.99

Warrnambool

4

Trafalgar

6.41

Gippsland

5

Albury

6.18

Albury


Top 5 regional services

Rank

Station

Score

Line

1

Kyneton

7.83

Echuca, Swan Hill

2

Kangaroo Flat

7.77

Echuca, Swan Hill

3

Waurn Ponds

7.64

Warrnambool

4

Epsom

7.62

Echuca

5

Woodend

7.47

Echuca, Swan Hill


Bottom 5 regional services

Rank

Station

Score

Line

1

Wodonga

3.78

Albury

2

Wangaratta

3.95

Albury

3

Albury

4.17

Albury

4

Shepparton

4.80

Albury

5

Warrnambool

4.87

Warrnambool

 

People using regional stations are more concerned with their train services than their station’s structure and amenities. Regional passengers, particularly on the Albury Line, told us that unreliable services, cancellations, bus replacements and late trains are some of the biggest issues.

Difficulty finding a car park, lack of connecting buses, toilet facilities, seats and shelter are all common responses for the lowest rated regional stations.
 

Summary of findings

When compared with results from previous years, the latest On Track survey results tell a consistent story about the difficulties and frustrations Victorian rail commuters face; but they also demonstrate the success of line extensions and station rebuilds born from government initiatives.

What needs to happen

Victoria needs a transport system that allows commuters to choose how they will travel to and from their station, in a safe and accessible manner.

Trains, trams and buses must connect and work together to help get people from point A to point B efficiently and reliably.

State and local governments must pay greater consideration to the access needs of pedestrians and bike riders, and need to look at ways to accommodate emerging mobility devices such as e-scooters.

Read the full report.

Key issues revealed

  • Infrequent and overcrowded services.
  • Inadequate shelter, seating and toilet facilities at stations.
  • Not enough car spaces and poor connecting bus/tram services.
  • Frequent cancellations and bus replacement services causing frustration.

How we advocate for change

More than 220 million passenger trips occur on the metropolitan rail network and 16 million trips on the regional network every year, and the numbers continue to grow. Your feedback helps us put a spotlight on where improvements are most needed.

Here’s what we do to help make your voices heard:

  • publicise survey results in the media to incentivise government action
  • engage and share survey results with varying levels of government, including the Department of Transport
  • conduct talks centred on what needs to change, based on survey results and other investigations.