GIPPSLAND // TWO new early morning Melbourne – Traralgon bus services will come into operation next month.
First published in the 11 December 2015 print edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. All dates relative to then.
The Saturday and Sunday morning services will leave Melbourne’s Sourthern Cross station at 02:00. Only one of the services, the slower “stopper” service, will stop at Warragul and Drouin, while an express bus will travel non-stop from Melbourne to Yarragon and then stop at all stations to Traralgon.
The express service has been timetabled to reach Yarragon at 03:45, five minutes after the stopper reaches Drouin. The stopper will reach Warragul at 03:55.
The stopper service will come with boarding restrictions similar to those of V/Line rail services travelling through metropolitan areas. Passengers will be unable to disembark at Pakenham, which will be covered by the 24-hour weekend Metro rail services, while nobody will be able to get on the bus at Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Bunyip, Longwarry, Yarragon, Trafalgar, Moe or Morwell.
Express service passengers will face no such restrictions.
The timetable release will come as a relief to some living in smaller towns. Early last year a Labor party spokesperson told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen less major railway towns would not be serviced under its “Homesafe” policy as the highway would provide easy access to stations with services.
More services could be added if a review of the night services one year in finds there is demand, the spokesperson said.
Presently, the last public transport service to leave Melbourne on Friday and Saturday nights is the 23:30/23:35 train from Southern Cross. On other weeknights the 21:44 train is the last service from Melbourne.
The last weekday service to Melbourne is the 19:47 train from Traralgon, which runs an hour earlier on weekends.
Those looking for a late night in Melbourne ahead of a public holiday may be disappointed. While services will run on weekend mornings regardless of holidays, weekday and Sunday public holidays will not be covered.
Details of security measures on the night network are vague. Asked by the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen what measures would be in place on the late night regional services, a state government spokesperson provided a fact sheet which stated “there will be protective services officers at the busiest stations and extra transit police travelling on many night network services. PSOs will be situated at major stations across the network making sure passengers are reassured by seeing a uniformed presence.”
“The deployment of extra police will provide assistance and reassurance, improve safety, and help ensure the public transport environment is safe and pleasant for passengers and other staff.”
Public Transport Victoria has updated its mobile app to provide night network travellers with journey reminders, maps and disruption information.
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