Regular timetabled Newcastle buses on routes 41, 43 and 48 are being reduced to make way for a new “premium” service which falls outside the Opal fee structure for the region, while the Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW calls for clarity on where the missing buses are being reallocated.

As the hourly services on routes 41, 43 and 48 are being reduced to a two-hourly service by Keolis Downer, the transport company that runsNewcastle’s transport network, RTBU NSW says Transport for NSW must put the interests of Newcastle’s commuters first and confirm the cut buses are not idling in the garage making Keolis Downer more profit.

Daniel Jaggers, Divisional President of the RTBU Tram and Bus Division, says despite claims made by David Franks, Keolis Downer’s Chief Executive, the reduction of regular timetabled services does not promote the use of public transport.

“When bus routes are being cut amidst overcrowding, the public deserves to know why, and both the NSW Government and Keolis Downer have failed to explain why this expensive, irregular service will lead to better outcomes for commuters,” said Mr Jaggers.

“These new premium buses are smaller, cheaper to operate and more expensive for commuters, as they are available only on demand and unlike the regular opal fare structure, do not allow journey continuation.

“Nowhere has the Transport Minister or Transport for NSW made any public statement on how long these buses will take to arrive when called. Meanwhile, Keolis Downer is saving the costs of operating three regular, full-sized buses.

“Minister Constance needs to come clean and explain what they KPIs are for this new service and how it benefits the public. It seems clear to me that the government only wants the major trunk routes offering a service, as this is where money can be made.”

 

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