TRANSPORT chiefs fielded a series of questions on public transport services at a meeting in Ararat on Thursday.
Questions included information on the Myki system and whether Ararat’s V-Line service connecting to Ballarat could start earlier, so Wimmera travellers could reach Melbourne before 9am.
V-Line and Public Transport Victoria staff joined Public Transport Ombudsman Janine Young as part of the ombudsman’s community outreach program.
Ararat Rural City Council services director Neil Manning said he appreciated the opportunity to meet the ombudsman and ask about train services.
But he said some questions council still wanted answered.
He said he could not understand why Ararat’s train services could not start earlier, so people could make early morning meetings in Melbourne.
The earliest service from Ararat to Melbourne is on Saturday, departing at 7.10am and arriving in Melbourne at 9.23am.
The train leaves Ararat at 7.35am on weekdays, arriving in Melbourne at 9.52am.
“It would be nice for Ararat’s service to link up with the train that leaves Ballarat at 7.36am,” Mr Manning said.
“People could catch early business appointments, and university students studying in Ballarat could commute.”
Mr Manning also asked about Myki’s adequacy for rural people.
“It is difficult to buy in rural areas,” he said.
Ararat residents who wanted to buy a Myki had two options, to do it over the internet or give their credit card details over the phone.
If they did not activate their card within 90 days of purchase, the money would be frozen.
Mr Manning said the frozen funds would be available within 48 hours of activating them.
But, in the meantime, commuters would have to buy and load a new card if they wanted to use Melbourne’s public transport without being fined.
“It seems a bit bizarre to freeze your money,” Mr Manning said.
He said Thursday’s meeting heard that Myki would be slower if every card was active.
“I thought it was a bit poor. What are computers for?” Mr Manning said.
He wondered why Myki cards were not sold at Ararat Railway Station, where commuters already bought their V-Line
Mr Manning said the Myki card freezing practice also discouraged regional residents from planning too far ahead.
“People could be caught out if they decided to pre-pay for a card and did not use it for 90 days,” he said.