Severe problems with the Region 10 bus service contractor U-Go mobility in the southern suburbs of Sydney has seen the NSW government step in and to take charge of the situation and manage the day to day running in a bit to repair the problems with the Region 10 bus contract services.
NSW transport minister Jo Haylen said that Transport for NSW has stepped in to manage day-to-day operations in Region 10 alongside the contractor, U-Go Mobility.
“Everything we are doing is about making sure bus services are more reliable for the community and that we are supporting our bus drivers,” said Minister Haylen.
“I’ve directed Transport for NSW to step in to improve bus services in Region 10 and to fix up the former government’s failures. There have been some improvements to services but there is still more to do to improve performance,” said the Minister.
“I want to make this arrangement work but services in Region 10 must improve. All options remain on the table if we don’t see further improvements to services from the operator.”
Transport for NSW claims that since the intervention, service cancellations have declined from 28 per cent to 13 per cent, but that the number is still too high and there is still more to do to get bus services in Region 10 back on the road.
According to the government the U-Go Mobility, has failed to deliver the expected level of service for the community and added that the Region 10 contract was signed weeks before the election by the old state government and added that the winning bid for the Region 10 contract was determined by which operator could deliver for the lowest price, instead of focusing on an improved level of service for passengers.
Transport for NSW also said that it has taken responsibility for other bus service operations including, scheduling and implementing a more reliable timetable for customers from Monday 31 July, re-working current turn-around times for routes to ensure an adequate pre-trip brief is given to drivers, with the hope that this will help eliminate stops being missed or taking the wrong route
They also believe that meeting with U-Go Mobility management several times a week is making progress in ensuring adequate resourcing and the operator is making progress in improving performance.
Minister Haylen also directed Transport for NSW to give some school service routes to another operator to run in the short term to ensure that these key community services are prioritised.
Under the new arrangement, the previous managing director has departed U-Go Mobility and is no longer be working for the operator.
Minister Haylen and Transport for NSW said they also reserves the right to further exercise the step in rights and fully take over the contract if more improvements are not made.
Int he statement it was revealed that U-Go Mobility has also adopted a range of measures to address the driver shortage, to retain staff and to attract drivers, including a $5000 retention and sign on bonuses.
Transport for NSW has already put in place a number of other day-to-day measures to support bus operations in Region 10 including a system of dedicated Transport staff monitoring region 10 bus services in real time to identify and report issues directly to the operator and Transport Management Centre. In addition there will be dedicated Transport staff responding to customer enquiries and liaising with key stakeholders including schools, local councils and local members.
It also says it will have Transport commanders deployed to key interchanges to help customers on the ground and a dedicated timetable team to ensure the adjusted timetable is prioritising dedicated schools services and regular route services that carry a large cohort of school students