The NSW Upper House Inquiry into the privatisation of bus services has today pressed Keolis Downer on service cuts and looming industrial action.
Keolis Downer took control of the Newcastle Transport Network from 1 July 2017, and in 2018 made significant changes to the network including the removal of the former 350 direct bus route from Swansea Heads to Custom House.
The community raised significant concerns about the removal of this service, with commuters now required to change buses at Charlestown which has created significant challenges for commuters living with a disability. At today’s hearing Mr Mark Dunlop – Managing Director Keolis Downer Northern Beaches rejected calls to return the former 350 service stating ‘the data would not warrant the reinstatement of the 350 service’.
Commuters are not the only ones left worse off with workers also reporting being understaffed and now a pay dispute threatening to see services cancelled on Friday 3 June.
Ms Yasmin Catley MP – Member for Swansea said ‘The inquiry into bus privatisation has made clear that the decision by the Liberal Government to sell off the Newcastle Transport Network has been a disaster. Not only have we been left with inferior services but now the community face losing all services on Friday because Kelios Downer is now in conflict with its own drivers’.
‘Despite being pushed on the need to restore services like the 350 that help kids get to school, Keolis Downer rejected reinstating these services. Not only did the operator dismiss community concerns by the Liberal Government via its representative Wes Fang consistently belittled the community and dismissed concerns from stakeholders such as Access Industries throughout the three day inquiry’.