Northern District Times: Buses under threat
Officials hit streets to talk to commuters about risk of privatisationSteven Deare, October 11 2017
BUS drivers have warned commuter services in Ryde could be privatised but the State Government says its decision to do so in the inner west is unrelated to other areas.
Bus union officials were outside Top Ryde City shops this week, telling commuters about what they said was the serious risk of privatisation.
In May, the State Government put services in the inner west to tender for the private sector.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the region had the worst on-time running results last year.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s Chris Preston said the government was setting its sights on privatising more.
“Commuters in the Ryde region deserve to know what’s at stake. That’s why we’re hitting the streets, talking to as many commuters as we can,” Mr Preston said. “If commuters think the buses in and out of Ryde are late and crowded now, just wait until the private sector gets its hands on them.”
He said profit-driven operators would inevitably provide services with fewer stops and services and longer travel times.
A Transport for NSW spokesman rebuffed the claims. “It’s business as usual for bus services around Ryde,” he said.
The decision to put the contract for bus services in the inner west to competitive tender was not related to the delivery of services in other areas, according to the spokesman.
He said the government would continue to own all buses and depots in the inner west.
The government would also continue to set safety regulations, fares, timetables, routes and bus stop locations for that region.
‘‘Commuters in the Ryde region deserve to know what’s at stake” Chris Preston