Inner West Council calls for guarantee that bus service levels will not fall
Tuesday 16 May, 2017
Inner West Council has called on the State Government to ensure public transport service levels are not reduced.
The call comes after the NSW Transport Minister announced bus region six, which services suburbs from the city west to Strathfield and Olympic Park, will be put out to private tender.
Bus region six accounts for more than 200 bus routes - the entire inner west fleet.
The Government said the decision was taken because these buses had the worst on-time running results last year.
"I think the people of the inner-west deserve better," Transport Minister Andrew Constance was quoted as saying.
Administrator of Inner West Council Richard Pearson agreed that inner west residents deserved excellent public transport services, but questioned why the number of complaints would be used as justification for selling off the service.
“Why not just improve the service?” he asked.
“I note that the eastern suburbs service attracted roughly the same number of complaints. So far, though, there’s no indication the State Government is going to put those bus services out to tender.”
Mr Pearson said he wanted iron-clad guarantees that there would be no reduction in bus services.
“It’s all very well for Transport Minister Andrew Constance to say that privatising buses leads to ‘more and better services’,” said Mr Pearson.
“What we need is an absolute commitment that services will be maintained or improved and that fares will not escalate.”
Mr Pearson said that he also remained keen for the State Government to show its commitment to public transport by getting on board Council’s Parramatta Road transport solution.
“Good public transport is crucial to the health of a large, modern city,” he said. “It’s why Inner West Council is proposing a centre-running Guided Electric Transit System (track-free trams) along Parramatta Road between Strathfield and Sydney CBD,” he said.
Council is currently seeking a dollar for dollar commitment from the State Government to jointly fund a GETS feasibility study.
“With State Government backing, this cutting-edge public transport project could be delivered within five years - so their joint commitment is vital,” he said.
The GETS transport solution needs to be in place from Day One of WestConnex, Mr Pearson said.
“This is one opportunity to truly transform Parramatta Road, and reap any benefits at all from WestConnex for inner west residents,” he said.