Last week there were 2 incidents involving Busways, the bus company that is contracted with the NSW Government to run bus services within the Region 1 area - namely between Richmond, Hawkesbury Valley, Penrith, Mt Duritt and Blacktown are including parts of the Hills are along with the Central Coast and North Coast of NSW.
The two incidents, of which one involved a fellow cyclist to be ran over, dragged and ultimately dying later in hospital due to the injuries sustained, has lead to a blitz which was undertaken by RMS inspectors and the police.
With this blitz, between 8 to 18 buses were found to have various mechanical issues, namely brake, steering and general mechanical issues which the company have since stated have all been addressed and fixed, but there have been concerns over Busways and other bus companies given the extremely tight and unacceptable bus timetables.
But this certainly isn’t the first time Busways has been in trouble. The bus company was found back in in the early 2000’s, when its drivers along with CDC’s Westbus/Hillsbus caught speeding in and out of the tunnel and there were calls at the time to have speeding cameras installed.
Busways has also been citicised by fellow commuters and government officials for the lack of services it provides to the community, given that most buses are still not wheelchair accessible, nor frequent services, given that most either run extremely late or are cancelled with little or no notice.
So why is it that a bus company with such a poor reputation continue to operate under an expanded region 1 contract in western Sydney? This question makes us wonder if Gladys actually listens to the community or just rather hand out to contracts to incumbents who honestly put both staff and commuters safety at risk everyday.
My response would be for the incumbent transport minister, Gladys Berejiklian, to come out and try using all these services to see how bad Busways have become and explain why she has allowed for commuters lives to be put at risk because of her undeliverable transport improvements.
Of course we know this won’t happen, but still worth a wish
We wish to also point out that buses owned prior to 2007 are owned by the company, however ownership can be spun out to the government as part of an ownership structure change. This is outlined by the region contract terms and conditions. However Busways can request more accessible buses under the contract to help sure up timtetable.
Our main point of this story is that one company should be allowed to operate such a huge area given the issues outlined above. Two bus companies should be operating to ensure competition but also provide better services.