Okay Dan, where’s my cheap train tickets?

Cheap train tickets? Gah, I really should learn to read the fine print more than I currently do. Or at least delve a little deeper into election promises that I thought were going to benefit me big time. Because I caught a whiff, a possibility of cheap train tickets in the latest state election and now I’m wondering why the prices haven’t dropped accordingly – turned out there was a bit more to it than first read…

Edit: It looks like I got my wish – cheap train tickets update now at the end of the article!

Ask me about anything but

I’m not big on politics, shocking I know. And it’s not just that I feel everyone in it spends more time undermining everyone else in other parties than they actually do anything else (ie When one party crows about an achievement the other will jump on board complaining that it was a terrible waste of money or how they could do it better..) it’s more that I rarely feel like there’s any benefit for me in their many promises.

Until the most recent state election where the lure of cheap train tickets had my ears prick up. This year I’ve made a few trips from Albury to Melbourne via V/Line and anyone who promises to make that process a little cheaper certainly gets my attention.

cheap train tickets
All aboard!

Incredibly too, it was a promise in an election I didn’t even vote in.

Note: More ‘couldn’t vote’ than didn’t

And that’s because this promise of cheap train tickets was made during the recent Victorian state election and I live on the border of New South Wales, less than five minutes drive away from setting foot and tires in the great state of Victoria (where I have spent a lot of my life growing up and working.) And incredibly that promise was from both parties which is incredibly rare – no matter who won, I won! (Or at least saved on my next V/Line train trip from Albury to Melbourne.)

During promo time The Coalition promised half priced V/Line fares across Victoria for four years which meant if you lived in Bendigo and took the train to Melbourne daily, you’d potentially save thousands over the space of a year. And who doesn’t like saving thousands of dollars on anything?

Dan Andrews and Labor decided to go one better, dropping the prices of tickets from various areas to Melbourne from 66-80%, bringing everything in line to the tune of $9.20. So Geelong to Melbourne? $9.20 thanks. How about Bendigo to Melbourne? Same again, nine bucks and twenty cents thanks. Ballarat to Melbourne? Same deal – less than a tenner one way.

‘Fantastic!’ I thought – now heading to Melbourne from everything from shopping to a trip to the footy will be far more affordable!


-Me on the thought of cheap train tickets.

And provided I have something to play with or listen to (that’d be Kairosoft games on my phone and lots of great tunes or some ripper audio books through my wireless headphones respectively) I don’t mind spending three and a bit hours by train, especially fresh off a breakfast shift and running out of energy. Just give me a seat section to myself, a place to nod odd easily if I have to and no crazy next to me the entire time desperate for conversation and I’m golden. Give me my cheap train tickets and I’ll be on the platform ready to rock and roll. And potentially nap.

But slam the brakes and turn off the nitrous oxide there twin turbo, there’s more to this than what I glossed over initially. (Of course there is..)

Take a look at the map

While Albury isn’t in the state of Victoria it’s border bubble brother down the road Wodonga certainly is and it also fits the bill of Victorian regional, just like Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat. However in relation to those other three, it’s a bit further out (by 2-4.5 hours from each of them) making them more of a distant cousin than a full regional relative in the eyes of the state government.
Which means no $9.20 fares from here to Melbourne anytime soon ever. Seriously, I would’ve happily jumped into a cab or Uber to cross the border just to take advantage of such an offer.

Thanks Google!

Secondly, I missed the part (actually I think the original articles I read before the election began missed this to) where it was for peak fares. Yes these cheap train tickets would be perfect for those who live in those regional centres going to and from work each day during the week but non-existent for weekend getaways during off peak times.

So even though Dan and his party won (again) my occasional weekend trips are still going to set me back $41.20 one way which is still cheaper than a tank of petrol, but still. For a second there I was almost excited about politics…almost.

April 2023 update – Albury to Melbourne cheap train tickets are go!

Well wasn’t that a nice surprise? Earlier this month VLine announced that the price of fares on the Albury line have now dropped to match the rest of the state. Yes down from $41.20 down to $9.20 which means if I want to take my son Jackson to a game of footy at the MCG one weekend, it’s only going to set me back $18.40 return and half of that again for him.

Bargain! Thanks Dan!

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