Blacktown Bus Drivers Call For Support

Release date: 14/07/2015

Blacktown Sun, by Katrina Vo, 14 July 2015

Transport Workers' Union NSW members in Blacktown have welcomed the support of MP John Robertson as they continue their campaign for a better and safer bus industry for passengers and drivers across the state.

TWU delegate David Pola, a Blacktown bus driver, said problems in the bus industry had got worse in the past few years and support from politicians like the Blacktown MP was crucial in fixing the problem.

"Impossible timetables, ridiculous on-time running schedules, terrible traffic, faulty Opal machines and frustrated passengers have turned what was a great job into a really difficult one," Mr Pola said.

"Our Better Buses campaign isn't just about bus drivers. It's about the safety of our passengers, from the schoolkids to the senior citizens.

"It's about the safety of our community here in Blacktown and right across Sydney. " TWU NSW Secretary Michael Aird said the problems in the NSW bus industry were the same everywhere, so the solution needed to come from the Minister for Transport.

"The state government's competitive tendering process has produced a race to the bottom - forcing drivers to rush, skip breaks and drive unsafely, endangering the safety of our drivers and community," Mr Aird said.

"The Minister for Transport sets the industry rules and awards the contracts in the private bus industry in NSW, so the safety and conditions of passengers and drivers on these buses are his responsibility.

"That's why we're calling on [Transport Minister] Andrew Constance to sign up to a single set of enforceable industry standards to stop the race to the bottom on safety and conditions.

"The minister has so far refused to sign but we'll keep campaigning until he does, because only he can fix the problems in the industry."

Mr Constance said nothing was more important than the safety of passengers and operators.

"All bus services in the Blacktown area must adhere to the Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract and are monitored by Transport for NSW through effective reporting and governance arrangements," he said.

"This ensures customers have access to safe, efficient and effective public transport, and that operators look after their workers.

"Bus operators regularly meet with drivers and unions to discuss concerns and Transport for NSW continues to work with all parties to ensure specific issues, like driver safety and the timely running of buses, are properly addressed," Mr Constance said.

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