The New South Wales government plans to privatise buses in Sydney’ Inner West after receiving thousands of complaints about the late arrival of buses and untimely departures from terminals. The complaints refer to public transportation. Unlike a bus for hire in Sydney, public buses in the city have historically received criticism from commuters, due to poor performance. Concord Coaches explains that rented buses are preferable since the service will depend on your schedule.
Over a four-year period, the state government recorded 12,000 complaints about problems related to the undesirable state of public transportation in Sydney. This led to the announcement of a public tender process for bus services in the Inner West and Southwestern suburbs. The State Transit Authority of NSW operates the buses plying these regions, with around 223 routes under contract to Transport for NSW. If the tender successfully chooses a new private operator, the state government plans to delegate the existing assets, including depots at Burwood, Kingsgrove, Tempe and Leichhardt.
Despite the state government’s intention to improve bus transportation, drivers and several campaign volunteers protested against the planned privatisation. The opposition centred on informing the public about the potential implications of selling the city’s buses under private ownership. The initiative is part of the Don’t Sell Our Buses Campaign – Day of Action, which bus drivers and volunteers reached out to commuters along bus stops across Sydney to inform them about the intended sell-out, according to RTBU Bus and Tram Secretary Chris Preston. Amid the mixed reaction from the public, the government is yet to confirm if ownership of the new services and the rest of the bus network in Sydney could be transferred via a sale-by-tender process.
Public transportation in Sydney remains an important piece of accessibility in the city. While the proposed privatisation aims to improve services, questions remain whether it is the best alternative.