I sent in a complaint to Connex:

I wish to make a complaint of overcrowding in the 9:10pm Belgrave train from Flagstaff station on Tuesdays and Thursday nights. Last night (22/3/2007) the train was so full that people were struggling to get on the train at Parliament and Richmond station. This in turn caused delays to the train service, as passengers searched the train for a carriage to board. In addition, it appeared that we left passengers behind at both stations. This has an ongoing problem since February this year. The train in question needs to be 6 carriages, 3 carriages simply aren't enough.

I also noticed that there were three Connex employees jammed against one of the doors (ticket inspectors?). I am not sure if the passengers still on the platform at Flagstaff and Richmond wanted to board the train, but it seemed unlikely that they had got off (at that time of night) or wanted to catch the Glen Waverly train (it goes 5 minutes earlier). Chances are that the person I saw on her mobile phone was making arrangements to get a left home…

I was in the front carriage - however I strongly suspect the other 2 carriages would have been just as full, if not fuller (most people waiting at the underground stations were within the centre of the train).

Please wait

Date: 2007-03-26 18:33:25

I got this response:

Dear Mr May,

Thank you for contacting Connex Customer Feedback.

Following a determination of the issue raised, your comments have been referred to the appropriate area for investigation.

A detailed response will be provided to you upon the completion of our investigation.

We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Customer Feedback

Connex Melbourne

Wow. I got them to start an “investigation” and will get a “detailed response”.

Lets see what happens, I guess.

Connex responds

Case No: lm/13477

29 March 2007

Mr Brian May

Dear Mr May

We refer to your email received in this office on 23 March 2007, in regards to three carriage trains operating on the Belgrave line.

Your comments are acknowledged and we welcome the opportunity to provide the following information.

As you are aware, six carriage trains are run during the morning and afternoon peak periods, with three carriage trains run at most other times. Historically, patronage levels have been lower during these times, which has justified the use of three carriage trains.

Connex isare aware that patronage across the network is increasing, and subsequently the demand for additional services and carriages is also on the increase.

In order to better define the current passenger loadings and potential need for additional carriages to be run, Connex continues to conduct a six-monthly load count survey. The results of these surveys allow a better understanding of our passenger travelling patterns, across the network, throughout the day and evening.

The information gained from these load counts is utilised to assess existing demand and to contribute to a business case to justify the substantial cost arising from additional carriages being provided and of new trains being purchased by the State Government.

Connex regularly forwards submissions to the State Government for approval for funding, to upgrade the network's infrastructure. The State Government assesses these requests based on passenger needs, urgency, congested high patronage areas and allocates in order of priority accordingly. 'Meeting Our Transport Challenges', a document released by the State Government, outlines their proposal to spend $800 million on new trains over the next ten years.

We respectfully advise that you may wish to find more information regarding future developments via the Department of Infrastructure website located at www.doi.vic.gov.au <http://www.doi.vic.gov.au/> .

Thank you for raising our awareness of this matter.

Yours sincerely

Luke Morrison

Customer Feedback

After 6 months I queried Connex again, and got no response.