As Victorian students head back to school after the summer break, they will be encouraged to stay safe around level crossings with a new educational partnership between Metro Trains and Victoria Police.
Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne today visited Yarraville station to launch the new Joint Education Taskforce. Codenamed Operation Jet, the taskforce is an alliance of Metro Trains’ Community Education Unit and Victoria Police’s Transit Proactive Unit.
Police officers, Protective Services Officers and Metro staff members will conduct a series of visits to schools, level crossings and railway stations over the next 11 weeks to discuss rail safety issues with students with the aim of reducing the number of incidents.
Metro and Victoria Police together identified 10 stations where a higher number of safety incidents involving school children occur, including Berwick, Parkdale, Beaconsfield, Officer, Yarraville, Thornbury, Hoppers Crossing, Mentone, Pascoe Vale, and Prahran.
School communities will be invited to observe the taskforce’s work in high incident areas. School captains will also have an opportunity to be role models to their fellow classmates and discuss ways they can improve their behaviour around trains.
Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne said the taskforce will call on students to take the pledge and promise to be safe around trains – with signed posters to be put up at local stations.
“We know how dangerous level crossings can be – particularly for young children as they’re heading to and from school. This taskforce is all about educating our school communities and most importantly saving lives,” Ms Horne said.
There are more than 200 pedestrian incidents reported at level crossings every year. The State Government touts improved safety around level crossings and continues its on-going removal program which will see 75 level crossings gone for good by 2025.