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Commuter concern as government shakes up Sydney buses

There are fears Sydney’s buses could become more unreliable as the state government is set to privatise the last remaining public services.

The lower north shore, northern beaches, and eastern suburbs are the final three regions operated by State Transit but are all slated for sale to private operators.

Shadow Transport Minister Chris Minns spoke to Ray Hadley, expressing his concern for commuters.

“We’re seeing a deterioration in services… the data speaks for itself.”

Mr Minns says bus services in his local area, Rockdale, have not met their key performance indicators for reliability since being privatised 18 months ago.

In most regions, the NSW government leases land and buses to operators, who maintain vehicles and employ drivers.

Mr Minns was quick to acknowledge the bus operators who “do a great job” in other areas, but insisted State Transit is necessary in remaining regions.

“There should be a public and private provision of public transport, in particular buses, that creates some competitive tension.”

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Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey estimates that transport privatisations will result in 500 job losses.

He told Steve Price that the new operators would be left “behind the eight ball”.

“We know that when this government privatises things, it never gives the full funding it’s got to the private operator.”

According to Mr Morey, commuters may face delayed services, amended routes and bus stop removals.

“This is not seen as enhancing services, this is seen as a cost-cutting measure… and unfortunately it’s people like yourself and me, and people using the buses and the trains who are going to lose out.”

The move also contradicts an election promise made by Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier this year.

“They have broken a fundamental commitment to the NSW public.”

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Image: SMH/Louise Kennerley