Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Newcastle commuters left waiting as bus privatisation experiment fails

Nov 30, 2018News

Media release, 30 Nov 2018: Newcastle’s bus privatisation experiment has been a dismal failure, with a new report revealing that one in 11 buses in the area turn up late.

The NSW auditor-general’s public transport report shows that Newcastle is one of only 12 “outer Sydney” areas that has failed to meet a punctuality target of 95%. Since private company Keolis Downer took over the running of the buses in Newcastle, punctuality has dropped.

Tram and Bus Division Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW, David Babineau, said the news will come as no surprise to Newcastle commuters.

“Newcastle commuters are being forced to deal with the NSW Government’s failed bus privatisation experiment every day,” Mr Babineau said.

“Bus stops have been closed, routes have been changes and people are being forced to wait longer for their buses to arrive – this is the reality of public transport privatisation.

“It’s unacceptable that Newcastle commuters can’t even rely on their buses turning up on time.

“Even with bus stops being closed throughout the region, buses are still running late.

“This is clearly a case of a timetable designed to maximise profit not provide a public service.

“We warned the NSW Transport Minister that this would happen, but he went ahead and signed a 10-year agreement. When you put a private company more concerned with turning a dollar than providing commuters with a quality service in charge of a bus network, it’s no surprise the quality of the service starts to go downhill.

“The people of Newcastle deserve a world-class public transport system, but what they’ve been left with is a second-rate system that is inconveniencing commuters and forcing people off public transport.”