The Andrews Labor Government is continuing its record investment to get regional passengers where they need to go, with more support for affordable and better connected journeys.
The Labor Government has now completed the fitting out of Victoria’s entire VLocity train fleet with mobile signal boosters, delivering improved mobile coverage for passengers on the Bendigo, Geelong, Ballarat, Traralgon and Seymour lines.
The project includes the construction of new mobile towers that will combine with the boosters to increase mobile coverage for passengers on the state’s five busiest regional lines. Even on their own, without any new towers, the boosters give passengers mobile coverage for more of their journey.
This project will enable more Victorians to work during their daily commute, delivering an estimated $20 million boost per year to the economy. There will still be some blackspots until all the 35 new mobile towers are up and running, but by the end of this year, passengers will benefit from improved mobile coverage on all their journeys.
The Labor Government will also introduce a cheaper and more affordable Regional Student Pass from Term 1 2019, with families saving on their yearly travel costs.
The Victorian Budget 2018/2019 delivered $1.9 million to lower the price of regional student fares, to better reflect the amount of travel regional students have to make when trying to complete their studies.
Many students already have access to discounted travel, now the Labor Government will increase the discount for Regional Student passes to 50 per cent of the yearly cost of concession travel.
Currently Bendigo kids pay $385 a year for the regional student pass, based on the 2018 prices this will go down to 50 per cent of the yearly myki money concession rate, meaning students will only pay $235.
This is in addition to a raft of other measures to make transport more affordable including:
- Free off-peak travel for primary school groups from January 2018, with Victorian primary school groups able to apply for free travel on metropolitan and regional services
- Reducing the 28-69 day myki pass for regional passengers
- Free weekend travel for Victorian Carer Cardholders
- Children under five years old don’t require a myki.
Work is also underway to bring better train services to Bendigo and Echuca, with critical surveying works completed on the line in July. The joint funded $91 million Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade will enable faster and more frequent services to Echuca and more frequent services from Epsom and Eaglehawk to Bendigo.
As stated by Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“Our regional train commuters and passengers are now better connected on every trip and we are on-track to improve mobile coverage by the end of the year when the mobile tower build is complete.”
“Changes to the regional student pass will make a big difference for regional students who travel every day – saving families on their yearly school travel costs.”
As stated by Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“We are seeing more passengers on our trains working, studying, shopping, on social media and calling their family, boosting Victoria’s economy and allowing them to make the most of their travel time.”
“We’re making public transport simpler and cheaper for regional families, while getting on with building the projects we need to run more trains, more often.”
As noted by Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis
“Our Regional Rail Connectivity Project means passengers can now use the internet and make calls while commuting, making rail journeys more productive and more enjoyable.”