Media Release: Ryde, Chatswood to lose bus services as private tender opens
The Berejiklian Government has today released a tender for local bus privatisation in Region 7, including services in the Premier’s electorate, despite the risk of reduced services, blowouts in running times and concerns about coronavirus safety measures, according to the RTBU Tram and Bus Division.
Region 7 covers North West Sydney including Chatswood, Ryde and Epping.
The region is the second of Sydney’s three public bus regions to be opened to private tender, despite overwhelming public opposition, two NSW Parliament debates and a community campaign that collected more than 22,000 signatures opposing bus privatisation.
David Babineau, Tram and Bus Division Secretary at the Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW, says the Berejiklian Government’s relentless privatisation agenda is selling out local communities and essential public transport services.
“The sell off of North West Sydney’s local buses could not come at a worse time for the community and workers,” he said today.
“Premier Berejiklian will stop at nothing in the push to hand out public services for private profits, despite the high costs to local communities.
“We saw what privatisation in the Inner West did to those suburbs, where on-time running has plummeted and routes have been quietly cut back. We saw it in Newcastle, which has seen more than 150 bus stops ripped up and there were media reports in recent days of more bus stops being axed in the Sutherland Shire.
Hiding behind a private operator and with no consultation, commuters in Sutherland Shire and St George lose 10 bus stops this month, with promises this will improve on-time running despite the comparatively poor performance of private operators compared with publicly run buses.
“No one in the community wants to see the operation of our public transport network sold off to the highest bidder to fund their shareholder handouts,” says Mr Babineau.
“Public transport services are more important than ever, in a public health crisis where people still need to get around including essential trips to supermarkets, pharmacies and medical appointments. We cannot cut corners. We cannot risk public safety being compromised by corporations trying to squeeze every red cent from our buses.”
“The public know privatisation is a con – communities get an inconvenient and inferior service when transport is privatised.
“The RTBU calls on the Premier Berejiklian to revoke the tender for Region 7 and 8 buses and put an end to further bus privatisation across the network,” Mr Babineau said.