IMMEDIATE ACTION TO IMPROVE PUBLIC BUS TRANSPORT SERVICES AND ADDRESS BUS DRIVER SHORTAGES
Member for Manly James Griffin has welcomed a range of initiatives that will deliver improved public transport and bus services across the Manly electorate.
“I have been meeting with the local bus operator for months, sharing my total frustration on behalf of commuters who deserve a better experience, and fighting for solutions,” Mr Griffin said.
“These new actions provide a clear plan to improve services, and I’ll be ensuring our community’s voices continue to be heard by the bus operator as they roll out these improvements.”
Commuters will benefit from further improvements to the local bus network, including a commitment to:
- Commence a new On Demand bus service to improve connectivity and local capacity. The new service will connect commuters from their home to major bus stops, Manly Wharf and other popular destinations
- Provide extra B-Line and City express services that commence at Brookvale during the morning peak, meaning dedicated services for Brookvale and Manly Vale commuters
- Immediately review timetables and routes to improve deployment of resources and increase peak-hour service frequency, particularly in Balgowlah Heights and Seaforth.
The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is also committing to a separate four-point plan to improve bus services for commuters by tackling the current bus driver shortage that has seen the driver vacancy rate as high as 10 per cent across the State.
Minister for Transport David Elliott said the NSW Liberal and Nationals four point-plan would address the severe staff shortages experienced by bus operators across Australia.
"The bus driver shortage is a national, and even international, problem which we are committed to addressing with four important strategies,” Mr Elliott said.
“As part of the NSW Liberal and Nationals plan, there will be a focus on increasing the number of drivers by securing proficient drivers from overseas, waiving training fees, offering bus drivers in Greater Sydney subsidised travel and giving local communities the opportunity to have input into bus services.”
“We will continue to work with BusNSW on the future of the bus industry in this state, in addition to the recommendations we’re committing to today,” Mr Elliott added.
The NSW Liberal and Nationals will establish a recruitment taskforce to develop further strategies to recruit and retain bus drivers, including individuals from interstate and overseas, and also assist with the recruitment of bus and coach drivers via support for specific funding for new recruits to upgrade to a Heavy Rigid or Medium Rigid licence to obtain a Bus Driver Authority (BDA) at little or no cost.
Community members are also encouraged to have their say on improvements such as new routes and timetabling as this feedback will inform Transport for NSW’s review of bus services.
Key aspects of the Liberal and Nationals plan to address the acute shortage:
- Provide free public transport to and from work with an Opal card to be issued to all new and existing drivers across Greater Sydney.
- Waive the Bus Driver Authority fee and subsidise training course fees
- Establish a recruitment taskforce to attract skilled bus drivers from overseas
- Invite the community members to ‘have their say’ on what improvements they would like to see across the bus network, including routes and timetables.
Since 2011, the NSW Liberal and Nationals have introduced about 47,000 extra bus services in Greater Sydney and outer metropolitan areas.
Member for Manly James Griffin said in addition, ferry commuters will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of the Opal system on the Manly Fast Ferry, with works underway to install the gate system as part of the new 15-year contract with Fast Ferry operator, NRMA.
“People will be saving hundreds of dollars from the Opal cap that the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is delivering,” Mr Griffin said.
“We’re also increasing services during peak periods by the middle of this year, which will mean commuters will be able to get to their destination faster, with a Manly Fast Ferry operating every 10 minutes.”
The new Fast Ferry contract is also delivering a new environmentally friendly fleet, with a hybrid-hydrogen ferry coming to the service, and the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government exploring options for future electric ferries.
To find out more about becoming a bus driver, visit the Transport for NSW website here.