Bus Drivers 'Forced To Push Limits On Safety'

Release date: 8/07/2015

Illawara Mercury, by Glen Humphries, 8 July 2015

TRANSPORT Minister Andrew Constance's "excessive demands" are endangering the safety of bus drivers and commuters, according to an Illawarra union official.

Transport Workers Union Illawarra sub-branch secretary Nick McIntosh's criticisms are tied in with the TWU's Better Buses campaign, which aims to improve safety and conditions for drivers.

"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," Mr McIntosh said.

"It's his excessive demands that are forcing drivers to rush, skip breaks and drive unsafely, endangering the safety of our drivers and community.

"That's why we're calling on Minister 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." Illawarra driver and TWU delegate David Cole said the timetables were at the heart of the problem.

"Daily, we're forced to push the limits on safety because the NSW government and operators expect us to keep to impossible timetables that show no understanding about the reality out there on the road," Mr Cole said.

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson joined fellow Labor MPs, Keira's Ryan Park and Wollongong's Noreen Hay, in signing the Better Buses pledge.

"I am strongly supporting the TWU campaign for Better Buses in the Illawarra region," Ms Watson said.

Mr Constance was approached for comment but no reply was received by deadline.

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