Doing the Wynyard shuffle is right. Every day drivers are forced to deal with congestion, and the frustration that comes with it, at the Wynyard bus exchange. But when two buses broke down near Clarence St during peak hour on Tuesday that frustration went through the roof.
Traffic all but stoped along the Harbour Bridge and through the city, stranding commuters until traffic eased at 7:30pm, and who was left to deal with it? Drivers.
On top of dealing with even tougher driving conditions and more passengers, they were also somehow expected to act as a community liaison and information service.
Commuters were rightly angry at the delays but no additional staff were deployed to help manage crowds and explain what was happening. Drivers were just left to bare the brunt of the anger.
There was once a time when STA senior management would step up during an incident, put on their orange jackets and come out to help ensure issues were resolved as soon as possible and commuters were kept informed. No longer it seems.
Leaving aside the problems with infrastructure that mean two breakdowns can cause these delays, drivers need and deserve proper support when problems occur. Not to be left stranded to bare the brunt of the failings of a congested transport network.
Calling all bus drivers: Share your story
Bus drivers provide around 15 000 services every day to the people NSW and this number is set to grow.
They drive buses under a variety of conditions. They often face extreme traffic congestion in the city, they provide services to communities that would otherwise be left stranded and they deal with the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with transporting people at all hours of the day and night, seven days a week.
But transport services are under the microscope. We’ve all heard about the plans to “fix” public transport in NSW. And we’ve all heard the talk about privatising services being the answer.
There is no doubt that NSW commuters deserve safer and more frequent services but is privatisation really the answer?
Just this week two bus breakdowns near Wynyard created mass delays for commuters with no other way to get home.
This comes hot on the heels of a speech given by Anthony Albanese in which he told an anecdote about the 19th Century horse-drawn (?)bus now housed at the Powerhouse Museum:
By 1910, the plodding pace of the horse buses, the increasing cost of feed and intense competition from cable and electric trams brought the horse-bus era to an end.
But what’s interesting about this particular omnibus is the time it took to plod the route from the Quay to Woollahra—40 minutes.
If you check the Sydney Buses web-site, you’ll see that the modern day equivalent along that same route—the 333 express bendy-bus—manages the same route in 36 minutes—a saving of just four minutes.
Certainly this can’t go on. Bus services face increased traffic and transport patronage in partnership with reduced spending on the sorts of infrastructure that would address congestion problems.
But despite the challenging environment in which bus drivers are working we know that commuters still have generally positive attitudes to bus services.
This is in no small part due to the hard work of drivers. Drivers take pride in their work and do everything they can to provide a quality service.
Tell us your story
We know that drivers do a great job but now we want to give you the chance to tell us all about it.
We want to hear all about your story of going above and beyond. Tell us about your regular passengers, the routes that you drive and why they are important or anything you think adds to the service that STA provides.
Get sharing in the comments section below!
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