V/LINE CEO James Pinder maintains that the performance of the network is not going backwards, despite the operators ongoing struggles to meet performance targets.
Speaking on ABC Radio this week, Mr Pinder said he doesn’t think the network is going backwards despite figures showing performance on the network is as bad as any point since 2005.
Public Transport Victoria data also shows that the on time percentage of Bendigo services of 79.8 per cent through the first two months of the year is the worst on V/Line’s records.
Those records are kept on a performance monitoring system the operator released earlier this year and date back to 2001.
Performance on the line last year was similar to that in 2005, with the worst year in 2009 when just 84.6 per cent of trains ran on time.
Mr Pinder noted that he was not in the job in 2005, but statistics showed that performance last year was similar to that recorded 12 years prior.
“I do have statistics telling me that train performance on the Bendigo line in particular was about the same in 2005 as it was last year,” he said.
“That’s not me saying that that’s good enough, that’s just the statistics that I have in front of me.”
Mr Pinder entered the job about 16 months ago after the departure of Theo Taifalos in the midst of the wheel wear drama that plagued the network in early 2016.
He said a “huge amount of investment” has been undertaken to upgrade the network to cater for growing demand.
That includes the $1.7billion worth of Regional Rail Revival works for which funding was secured last month.
The network also runs more services now than ever before, but is severely limited by infrastructure such as congestion with metro sections of track and single track such as between Bendigo and Kyneton.
Mr Pinder said the organisation has a “very comprehensive plan” to improve performance including new monitoring systems.
“I’m focussing as the CEO of V/Line on improving performance, making sure that we get the absolute best out of the investment that’s being made in this industry so that we can build a railway that everybody in Victoria is proud to use,” he said.