An extra 450 train services a week have been added to the Melbourne and Victorian regional rail network to assist passengers in travelling in a COVID-safe manner.
As of Sunday, January 31, an additional 280 metropolitan services and 170 regional services will run on the network every week, with the bulk of the new regional services – 125 a week – on the Ballarat Line.
The new services mark the completion of the Ballarat Line upgrade, with a second platform at Wendouree opened on January 31.
In Melbourne, the new services are designed to help spread the peak load with services increasing the frequency of trains outside of peak hours.
“This is the biggest timetable change since the opening of the City Loop, and the extra services give passengers in Melbourne and regional Victoria more options to get them where they need to go,” said Victorian Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll.
In addition, to assist with social distancing, a new tool showing live train capacity data has been launched. Named RideSpace, the micro-site uses capacity data that will soon be made available to third party journey planning apps.
Information includes current and predicted levels of busyness for trains, stations, and platforms from Very Quiet to Very Busy.
“RideSpace puts the information Victorians need to make smart travel choices directly into the palm of their hands. It’s innovative technology that will make COVID-Normal travel safe and easy,” said Carroll.
RideSpace was developed with Telstra purple and NTT DATA and uses technology such as predictive data modelling and machine learning.
Those travelling outside of the peak periods will also now be able to travel for cheaper, with a 30 per cent discount on off-peak myki fares. The discount is automatically applied when passengers touch off between 9.30am and 4pm or after 7pm on weekdays.