Sunday, December 2, 2012

Busways Bus Region 1 Discussions For The Future!

On the 29th November 2012, WSPTU Representatives met with Group Service Development Manager for Busways, Andrew Glass to discuss Busways winning the tender process for the entire NSW Bus Contract 1.

The understanding is that WSPTU believed that Region 1 was going to remain as it was with Busways covering Mount Druitt to Blacktown and Westbus from Mount Druitt to Penrith to Windsor.

Mr. Glass advised us that they had done their homework with the tender of the NSW Bus Region 1 contract and submitted a competitive bid which built upon their decades of service provision in the area, under Rowes  Bus service and currently  under Busways. The Contract transition period when Busways will take over the complete Bus Contract 1 area is planned to happen in October 2013. This will be designed to coincide with the City Rail train time table changes in the same period.

In relation to commuters, bus routes and services will not be directly affected as it will simply be Busways taking over bus services. Which I find is a major point - although it is good to understand the process of NSW Bus contract tenders etc - to me it is like a Government changing the guard!

Busways will be ensuring that the trip times are more accurate, meaning less wasted time on buses for passengers.  This will help improve on-time running which is a major Key Performance Indicator in the contracts, and will allow the current Westbus services to achieve a similar level of reliability as per the current Busways services.

Bus Depots will have to be ready in place for the operational areas around Penrith/St Marys and Windsor/Richmond so that buses will be centrally located to meet current and future demand.  More information on depot locations will be provided in the coming months as DA’s ( Development Applications) are submitted and determined.

In relation to servicing bus shuttles - this will maintained and as directed too by the NSW for Transport and NSW Minister of Transport, pending on future funding by them.

Every Westbus bus driver will offered employment with Busways  and it will be left up to each individual Westbus bus driver if they take the employment offer up! There will also be Driver  Consultative Committees established at each new depot which will consist of Work Health and Safety Representative/s plus drivers, to ensure there is the opportunity for feedback.

Busways will continue to allocate buses so that the air conditioned and wheelchair accessible vehicles are “on the road” for the longest part of the day.  Since 2007 most buses are NSW Government owned but Busways will also be sourcing some additional buses to make up the shortfall. 

Growth bus services will be provided to growth population areas during the contract - which means newer areas across the region such as The Ponds, Jordan Springs and Waterside.

Feeder Buses - Mr. Hugh Worrall from WSPTU asked regarding  areas that lack need essential and vital  bus services can feeder buses be used to take commuters to major bus routes and the answer is pretty much it will have to discussed with NSW for Transport in light of the Long Term Master Plan, yet it was thought commuters do not like to have multiple modes of transport to get to their destination.

Bus Stop Infrastructure - Hugh Worrall was also suggesting that  block funding be proposed for bus stop infrastructure on a basis that 1/3 is paid by Federal Government, 1/3 by NSW Government and  the remaining 1/3 by  Local Government Area's as opposed to Local Government Area's fund the complete Bus stop infrastructure, yet if no money is allocated for this then this is completely neglected. Busways supports any efforts to improve the level and quality of infrastructure at bus stops, especially in terms of DDA 
compliance ( Disability Discrimination Act - Under the Human Rights Commission) . 

The only thing bus operators do towards bus stop infrastructure is install the bus stop “flag and pole” - the  rest is installed by Local Government Areas.  The way to look at it is,  how would it be trains  with train stations and then you look at buses without bus stops - Bus stops need to be audited to see if they compliant to DDA 

There was discussions the buses will have facilities installed for the Opal Ticketing Machine: currently it has been released to Sydney Ferries, later on to City Rail trains and finally on to buses.

At present, text bus stop timetables (in Sydney Buses areas) are not real time – they are basically just the printed timetable.  The roll out of PTIPS will allow real time information to be provided – this is a future project for Transport for NSW. 

Then I was allowed to talk about 3 issues that I am concerned about is weekend services, late night and Sunday services that do not allow commuters reach Sunday Funday events on time as there isn't early services and it is hard for shift workers not able to start early and come home late.

I also spoke about safety issues that Westbus have used with their buses and ask what will Busways/ NSW for Transport do to ensure safety to commuters and to drivers.

Finally I spoke about the current services that need to go back on Sedgman Crescent and also Chestnut Crescent in Mount Druitt.

What was suggest that the Light issue in Sedgman Crescent has to be fixed and currently there is no funding available to undertake the work.  Once this and the other outcomes of the safety audit are addressed, the restoration of services can be investigated. 

Chris, Andrew Glass, Hugh Worral & John Svoboda
Overall the discussion we had with Mr. Andrew Glass were pleasing and informative. I do hope we in Mount Druitt receive the help we need  to place peoples lives back into the road of public transport

Click Here to check Out The Sydney Bus Region Areas! And Especially Bus Region 1

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