NSW Labor is again calling on the Berejiklian Government to fix Newcastle buses by holding a rally today at Gregson Park, which more than 1,000 angry commuters are expected to attend.
Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay, Member for Swansea Yasmin Catley, Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp, Member for Charlestown Jodie Harrison and Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery are continuing their push to hold the NSW Government to account on the disastrous privatisation of Newcastle Buses.
NSW Labor is demanding Minister Constance conduct a detailed, transparent and independent review of the timetable, publish the terms of reference for the review and guarantee public consultation as part of the review.
The new bus routes and timetabling has resulted in:
Longer journey times
A more inconvenient service
Cuts to services
Reduced operating hours
Of most concern is the impact the cuts and changes have had on the most vulnerable commuters including the elderly and people with disability, who rely on public transport to get them from A to B.
It follows a protest meeting last month at Belmont 16’- spearheaded by NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley- where more than 1,000 people turned up to show their opposition to the timetable.
The massive reception about the privatisation of Newcastle Buses shows there is discontent within the local community and NSW Labor MP’s will continue the fight to hold this government to account.
A debate will be held in NSW Parliament on April 12 after a petition was tabled with more than 20,000 signatures. NSW Labor has already received hundreds of submissions to its own consultation of the timetable with feedback on how it can be improved.
Minister Constance must conduct a thorough, independent and transparent review of the public transport system in Newcastle and restore essential services.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Transport Minister Jodi McKay
“The Minister has had plenty of time to intervene and yet he won’t, he’s prefer to leave the bus service in complete chaos and wash his hands of it.
“We are demanding the Minister conduct an independent review and if he continues to refuse to do so, we’ll call on the Premier to take action.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Swansea Yasmin Catley
“Anything less than a thorough, transparent and consultative review of the network simply won’t cut the mustard.
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp
“Today’s rally is further evidence that these changes are hurting those most vulnerable in our community. The Minister can continue to bury his head in the sand but we will continue to fight until essential services are restored.
“The Minister needs to order the private operator to undertake an urgent, consultative and transparent review.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Charlestown Jodie Harrison
“I am still being inundated with calls from constituents who are hurting both financially and socially because of the changes to the bus timetables and routes.
“Again I ask the Minister – when are you going to step in and fix our buses?”
Quotes attributable to Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery
“Every day I hear horror stories about buses failing to turn up, leaving students stranded at schools, people late for work or missing their medical appointments.
“We have a Minister who continues to show complete disregard for the Wallsend community who are hurting because of these changes. He needs to fix Newcastle buses.”