92% of commuters fear more buses will be axed after privatisation, survey finds
A massive 92% of commuters fear their bus routes will be changed or axed when regions 7, 8 and 9 are privatised, a new survey has found, prompting the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW to lay out recommendations for public consultation with local residents who feel excluded from the process.
The Our Transport survey of almost 2000 people living in three areas of Sydney set for bus privatisation found 91% felt they had not been consulted or informed about bus privatisation in their area. Respondents identified hundreds of routes they wanted to see protected and called for the restoration of services that were recently axed in sweeping cuts to the bus network, including the M10 and M50.
RTBU NSW has provided a briefing on the results to the Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Transport for NSW, making a series of recommendations for a transparent process that includes:
- design and implementation of a formal consultation process;
- clear communication about how the public can engage in this process;
- releasing the methodology behind changes to bus services; and
- ceasing the mandatory use of Non-Disclosure Agreements for timetabling staff.
“The community feels betrayed by the recent changes to their bus services. They fear more routes will be axed or changed, making it even more difficult for them to get to work, school, and go about daily life,” says David Babineau, Secretary of the RTBU NSW Tram and Bus Division.
“Residents also told us it’s extremely important to have bus stops close to their home and destination. Removing stops has a huge impact on elderly and disabled commuters who are forced to walk longer distances. They have identified hundreds of routes they rely on most and want to see protected.
“These are the things the NSW Government would know if it had at any point asked residents how they felt about their buses being privatised. The Transport Minister has claimed these changes are based on community feedback, but this is frankly a lie. No opportunities for public feedback have been promoted.
“It’s time for the government to come clean about the hatchet job it has made of our bus network. Cuts to routes in Ryde, north Sydney and the eastern suburbs have actually left people stranded, with bus routes that no longer go near their homes. This can’t continue.
“Our recommendations are in line with Transport for NSW’s own community consultation policy, which has apparently been completely discarded. No more secrecy about the methodology, no more Non-Disclosure Agreements gagging timetable workers, and no more changes to bus services until the public have had their say.”