Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

New Year’s Eve buses at risk as companies refuse to compensate drivers

Jan 8, 2024Uncategorized

Passengers could be left stranded on New Year’s Eve unless bus companies commit to compensating bus drivers for working on the important occasion 

7 December 2023 – The Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW (RTBU NSW) has called for an incentive for bus drivers to work on New Year’s Eve, describing their members as being undervalued and underpaid for far too long. 

Under the current roster scheme, a driver can accept to fulfil a Sunday shift as voluntarily overtime. 

Tram and Bus Division Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, David Babineau, has warned that without an incentive for drivers to work, there may not be enough drivers to cover the shifts. 

“Bus drivers have been working around the clock to ensure commuters can get from A to B, as essential workers during Covid or as they cover the gaps during the bus driver shortage. 

“This New Year’s Eve, drivers will have the choice of whether they want to work or have the day off to spend with their family and friends ringing in 2024. Without an incentive as gratitude for working what would normally be their day off, we could see a shortfall in drivers covering the Sunday shifts. 

“The last thing we want to see on a normally celebratory day is for services to be delayed or even cancelled due to a shortage of drivers. We don’t want to see commuters impacted when public transport, especially buses, is the best way to get around and avoid the road closures in many areas. 

“We’d like for bus drivers to be offered a one-off payment as compensation, like they used to before the bus network was privatised under the previous Liberal government. If drivers are being requested to do more, then we simply ask that they be paid more.” 

The brutal impact of privatising the bus network had been revealed in the first report by the Bus Industry Taskforce but came as no surprise to long suffering commuters and bus drivers who have been fighting for better pay and conditions. 

The Taskforce revealed a suite of issues caused by privatisation including the shortage of bus drivers, a two-tiered payment system leaving some drivers worse off financially, poorer quality services and the long-term neglect of the network through cost-cutting.