New coach services have been added to and from Seymour and Albury, Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla.
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the introduction of new coach services would give passengers more travel options and better connections to Melbourne or to the regions.
Starting from October 1, there will be one extra morning service from Albury to Wodonga to Seymour; one extra mid-morning service from Seymour to Wodonga to Albury; one extra morning service from Wangaratta to Benalla to Seymour; and one extra mid-morning service from Seymour to Benalla to Wangaratta.
The coaches will utilise the towns’ current train stations as the stops and are scheduled to co-ordinate with connecting trains at Seymour.
‘‘We’re adding more direct services and better connections to give passengers in the north-east greater choice when they travel,’’ Ms Symes said.
‘‘I’ve listened to north-east communities, many are already driving to Seymour Station to meet a connecting train, the additional direct bus option will mean more people can leave the car at home.’’
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has described the decision as a ‘‘quick fix to a much bigger problem’’.
‘‘Residents don’t want another coach service, they want a train network they can rely on,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘If the Nationals are elected, we will invest $633million to completely replace Victoria’s old and unreliable trains with brand new V/Locity trains, adapted for long-haul travel.
‘‘An extra coach service and a paint job is not going to make up for the years of frustration experienced by commuters.’’
Last week Ms Ryan told Victorian Parliament about Kilmore’s Michael Gionfriddo, who regularly catches the train to Seymour and is frustrated by the infrequency of services and the state of the old carriages.
‘‘These train lines continue to be plagued with delays, cancellations and breakdowns. It is inexcusable,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Labor have offered a temporary solution to a problem they have shamefully ignored for the past four years.
‘‘The choice is very clear for our region at this election: in four years all Labor has done is paint our old trains. The Nationals will order and build new ones.’’
Ms Symes said on top of the new coaches, work was under way for the $235million North East Line upgrade, as part of Labor’s Regional Rail Revival program.
The tracks between Albury and Melbourne will be upgraded to enable the Victorian Government to run its promised purpose-built long-haul trains on the line.