Victoria

Commuter chaos fears as buses replace trains on Frankston line for level crossing removal

Train travellers are fearing more commuter chaos this week after being left stranded on the Frankston line on Monday due to a lack of replacement buses.

Buses are replacing trains on the Frankston line between Mordialloc and Caulfield this week, as work is carried out to remove level crossings at North Road, McKinnon Road and Centre Road.

Roadworks near Ormond railway station.
Roadworks near Ormond railway station. Photo: Paul Jeffers

From Wednesday to Sunday, buses will replace trains between Moorabbin and Caulfield.

However, commuters were not impressed on Monday, with many left stranded at Bentleigh, McKinnon and Glen Huntly stations, watching full buses drive past.

From top to bottom: Caulfield, Glen Huntly, McKinnon, Bentleigh, Moorabbin and Mordialloc stations.
From top to bottom: Caulfield, Glen Huntly, McKinnon, Bentleigh, Moorabbin and Mordialloc stations.  

Daniel Bowen of the Public Transport Users Association, who travels on the Frankston line, said some commuters had a smooth run, but many did not.

"It was a real mixed bag for train passengers," he said.

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"At Mordialloc and other busy stations such as Glen Huntly, many passengers were left waiting as inadequate numbers of buses were in service. Even staff on the ground were heard admitting to passengers that far more buses were needed."

Mr Bowen said commuters feared delays would only become worse on Wednesday, when people returned to work after taking an Australia Day long weekend and students returned to school from holidays.

"What's alarming is that the bus replacement services struggled today, when many people are on leave, and students aren't yet back at school," he said.

"There were also problems over the weekend, with tennis and cricket fans suffering packed buses and long delays on their way home.

"There are numerous level crossing removal projects coming up in coming months and years, with most requiring trains to be replaced by buses for extended periods of time. Metro and the government really need to work harder to get this right."

Mr Bowen did not experience lengthy delays on Monday morning, but said other passengers had.

One commuter said: "The buses were full by the time they left Mordialloc. One bus driver showed some initiative and stopped to pick us up at Patterson Road, even though he wasn't supposed to.

"There were two busloads of people left at Bentleigh and McKinnon as we drove past."

Another said: "From 7.30am onwards the buses were packed at Mordialloc."

However, Metro trains said it had received no customer complaints about the replacement buses on Monday. Metro had pre-warned commuters via its website to allow for 45-minute delays.

A Metro spokeswoman said 72 buses were scheduled along the Frankston line, with some travelling express between Mordialloc and Caulfield, while others stopped at all stations.

"We had all different sorts of buses running, covering 15 kilometres," the spokeswoman said.

"We had some express from Mordialloc and Caulfield, some limited express between Mordialloc and Moorabbin, and some stopping all stations."

Despite commuters' concerns, only 61 replacement buses are scheduled to run on Wednesday, when level crossing works will be carried out between Moorabbin and Caulfield.

The spokeswoman said less buses were needed, because the affected area would be limited to seven kilometres.

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