V/Line passengers from outer-suburban stations face four weeks of bus travel, causing significant delays and frustration.
The disruption is due to ongoing West Gate Tunnel works, which will lead to coaches replacing peak-hour trains at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit on weekdays. The bus journey, battling heavy West Gate Freeway traffic and roadworks exacerbated by the return of workers after school holidays, is expected to take significantly longer than the usual 35-minute train ride to Southern Cross.
Adding to the frustration, Geelong V/Line express trains will continue to run through the stations while commuters are left lining up for the bus. Additionally, passengers hoping to travel from Wyndham Vale and Tarneit to Footscray will need to catch a shuttle bus to Sunshine and then transfer to a Metro train.
Further disruptions are anticipated on the Ballarat line, as some weekday peak-hour services from Bacchus Marsh will also be replaced by buses. These changes are a result of limited capacity at Southern Cross due to works at Dynon Rd, where the road is closed until August 31. The closure is part of the construction of a large road over Footscray Rd, connecting to the tunnel.
Daniel Bowen, a spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association, highlighted the expected delays and congestion for passengers from Wyndham Vale and Tarneit during the bus replacement period. He noted the likelihood of queues and crowding, as bus services struggle to meet the demand. While some individuals have resorted to working from home, Bowen acknowledged that it is not always a feasible option.
Peter Lellyett, the executive project director of the West Gate Tunnel Project, acknowledged the significant amount of work being carried out and expressed gratitude for commuters’ patience. He assured that efforts are being made to inform and prepare commuters for the disruptions.
These disruptions come on the heels of two weeks of chaotic bus replacements on the Williamstown and Werribee rail lines. The state government has been encouraging people to work from home, if possible. Travellers are advised to check the PTV website for updates on the ongoing impacts caused by the West Gate Tunnel project.