All aboard: Victorian commuters offered myki discounts and extra trains

Public transport commuters will get a 30 per cent discount on trips made outside peak hour from January next year in a bid to encourage Victorians to use trains, trams and buses during less busy periods.

The discounted fares will start from January 31 and last for three months and cost the Andrews government up to $15 million. They were announced alongside a major revamp of the train timetable on Tuesday that will see 450 extra services run on the metro and regional lines.

A lone passenger on a Melbourne tram.Credit:Jason South

Transport Minister Ben Carroll said 280 metro services and 170 regional services would be added to the train network.

But the Ballarat line will be the biggest beneficiary, receiving 125 new services to provide trains every 20 minutes, following an upgrade on the line as part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program.

Another major change will see Frankston trains taken out of the City Loop and run directly to Flinders Street and Southern Cross Station then through to Werribee. This will be in place until the $11 billion Metro Tunnel opens in 2025.

The Victorian government wants to encourage workers to return to the CBD, while avoiding overcrowding on V/Line trains.Credit:Joe Armao

Public transport advocates have long called for Frankston trains to be taken out of the loop due to cancellations and delays suffered on the line as it shares tracks into the city with the busy Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.

The change will result in the Frankston line being boosted with 45 new services.

The revamp will add also extra services on the Cranbourne and Pakenham, Werribee, Williamstown, Upfield, Craigieburn and Sunbury lines, with 170 new peak-hour services and 300 off-peak services.

Mr Carroll saidthe extra services would give Victorians a "real choice if they can work different hours of the day knowing that the train will be more regular and the frequency will be more regular than ever before".

"There has been an emphasis on the shoulders, so more services beginning at 6.30am rather than 7am, more services going through at 7.30pm and beginning at 4.30pm as well," Mr Caroll said.

The new timetable will also change the direction of the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines in order to prepare for the arrival of the new high capacity metro trains.

Sandringham weekend services will also bypass the City Loop.

The discounted myki fares are expected to drive up commuter numbers by 50 per cent and cost the government between $7.5 million and $15 million.

The government will also increase dwell times – the time it allows for passengers to get on and off trains – across the network. This will add a minute or two to journey times on 35 services.

More to come.

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