Survey reveals the best and worst train stations in Victoria

Moving Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 11 March 2020

RACV’s On Track survey reveals the best and worst train stations in Victoria. Find out how your station fares. 

South Kensington is Victoria’s most hated train station according to the latest RACV On Track survey, which asks commuters to rate their station.

The biennial survey, which fielded entries from 24,500 Victorians, ranked South Kensington as the worst in the state, with commuters calling out safety concerns and lack of shelter and parking as their key gripes. (More: Melbourne's worst stations for parking fines

The station in Melbourne’s inner west scored just 2.48 out of 10, the lowest score recorded by any station since the survey began in 2013. 


Slides: South Kensington station, Aircraft train station, Donnybrook station, Carnegie train station, Tarneit train station.


South Kensington commuters were also dissatisfied with their train services on the Williamstown and Werribee lines, ranking them the eighth-worst in the state, and complaining of overcrowded trains and express services that skip their station.

In total, respondents to the latest On Track survey rated 311 train stations across the state on issues such as facilities, safety, cleanliness and parking, and scored train services and bus connections. 

Chronic parking shortages, feeling unsafe, and waiting for overcrowded, late and infrequent trains emerged as the most common complaints. (More: Public transport etiquette: 28 cardinal sins of commuting)

Laverton’s Aircraft station in Melbourne’s west, which has been ranked in the bottom 10 stations since 2015, was ranked the second worst in the state in the latest survey.  

Donnybrook station, on Melbourne’s northern fringe, was ranked third-worst, despite some upgrade work currently underway

At the other end of the spectrum, commuters voted the new Hawkstowe station the best in the state, with a score of nine out of 10. The station was built in 2018 as part of the Mernda line extension, which had two other new stations in the top 10 – Middle Gorge at number three and Mernda at 10.

The new Carnegie station was ranked second best, with a score of 8.61 out of 10, a massive improvement on its 2017 result, when it ranked ninth worst in the state with a score of 4.68.

Carnegie, along with Rosanna, Bentleigh, Ormond, Bayswater and Gardiner stations, was rebuilt as part of the state government’s level-crossing removal program and this had a significant impact on commuter satisfaction, says RACV’s senior manager transport Peter Kartsidimas.

Melbourne’s outer suburbs are growing at such a rate that in the next few years there will be more people living in these areas than the rest of Melbourne combined.


Peter says more investment to improve train stations and services is still needed across the entire rail network. 

“Melbourne’s outer suburbs are growing at such a rate that in the next few years there will be more people living in these areas than the rest of Melbourne combined,” he says. “Given the challenges people in these areas already face, we need to move quickly and put in place good public transport, including new train stations and bus services to deal with the population boom.”

Peter says 19 per cent of all those surveyed reported difficulty finding a parking spot at the station. But he says building more parking at stations is not the only solution. “If you provide an extra 100 car spaces you help 100 people, but if you provide good bus connections and better walking and cycling paths you help thousands of people.”

He says the survey revealed that of those who drive to the station, 60 per cent want better bus or tram services to the train station as an alternative to driving.

At the same time 45 per cent of those who drive say they would be prepared to pay a small fee of $2 for parking (as is the case at train stations in Perth), if it meant more parking would be available. Peter suggests trialling a small fee at some of the stations where commuters said they were open to paid car parking, to ensure more spaces were available for those who really needed them.   

He says overcrowding across the network is a serious issue. “We need to continue planning and implementing key railway lines like Metro Two, which will connect rail services in the north to the west through the city and provide a station for Fishermans Bend, and the Western Rail Plan, which will link Geelong, Ballarat and the outer-western suburbs to the city.”

New train station at Williams Landing

The new train station at Williams Landing, in Melbourne’s west.


New train station at Hawkstowe

The new train station at Hawkstowe, in Melbourne’s northeast.


The survey also found that safety is a big issue at some stations such as South Kensington where 64 per cent of commuters said they felt unsafe, and Broadmeadows where 50 per cent were concerned about safety. 

Most complaints about overcrowded trains came from Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, especially from commuters on the Craigieburn line using Newmarket, Kensington, Moonee Ponds, Ascot Vale and Glenbervie stations.

Gowrie station was rated as having the poorest train services in the state, with three other stations on the Upfield line – Fawkner, Merlynston and Batman – also performing badly.

Six of the worst 10 stations where commuters reported infrequent services were on the Upfield line – at Fawkner, Merlynston, Gowrie, Batman, Coburg and Moreland. 

Fawkner station topped the list for trains not running on time, followed by Wangaratta, Albury and Wodonga on the Albury line.

Shepparton was the lowest-rated regional station, followed by Warrnambool, Marshall, Trafalgar and Albury. The worst-rated regional services were Wodonga, Wangaratta and Albury on the Albury line, followed by Shepparton on the Shepparton line and Warrnambool on the Warrnambool line.

How does your station rate?


 
To see the full results of the survey and find Victoria’s 10 best and worst train stations, and use our interactive map to see just what respondents think of your station, visit racv.com.au/ontracksurvey

About the survey 

The On Track Survey is RACV’s biennial survey of rail users. The survey asks commuters to rate their local station via an online questionnaire. The 2017 survey attracted 24,500 responses.