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Took a cab to avoid the rail meltdown and want compo? You may be out of luck

Commuters won't be given a free travel day after Melbourne's rail network meltdown, even though a previous major incident led to such compensation.

An estimated 175,000 people were left stranded or delayed when the city's train system was brought to a standstill on Thursday afternoon.

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Passengers try to squeeze aboard a packed train during Thursday's rail meltdown.

Passengers try to squeeze aboard a packed train during Thursday's rail meltdown. Photo: Joe Armao

It's understood an investigation into the cause of the failure remains focused on whether a back-up computer system may have triggered the glitch. Metro has sent its data overseas for further analysis.

Passengers who touched on between 3pm and 7pm will be reimbursed on their myki account, but anyone who didn't touch on will have to fill out a form to claim compensation to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said a free travel day should be given out to compensate those who were warned off or turned away at packed stations, and those who opted to take a taxi or Uber ride home.

"Applying a blanket compensation measure of some sort, like a free travel day, would be an appropriate response," he said.

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But Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan has so far resisted calls for a free travel day.

"That does not necessarily support those who were directly affected," she said on Sunday.

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Opposition planning spokesman David Davis said the government hasn't understood the full seriousness of what has occurred.

"It's time they stepped in and demanded fair and adequate compensation for commuters who were left high and dry," he said.

In 2010, all city commuters were able to travel for free for a day after a power failure disrupted trains across the network.

V/Line passengers were also given days of free travel last year after the rural train service suffered multiple delays and many cancelled services.

Metro said refunds will be automatically issued for anyone who touched on during Thursday's transport chaos.

"We understand how frustrating this was for our passengers," said company spokesman Marcus Williams.

The company's contract for operating the rail system is also due to expire in November, with a decision on extending it expected in the coming weeks.

But Premier Daniel Andrews has disputed reports that a deal is imminent.

"Those reports are simply wrong," he said.

– With Adam Carey

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