EDITORIAL: Operators raise concerns about SA bus contracts

By: Graham Gardiner


The idea of bringing in a new contract for South Australian school bus operators by the start of 2009 sounds

The idea of bringing in a new contract for South Australian school bus operators by the start of 2009 sounds like a pipe dream at the moment.

If the State Government goes ahead as planned, many incumbent operators will be caught out.

Essentially, the new process will throw all the contracts open for tender.

The draft new contract gives the operator a three-month window in which the contract can be terminated without any compensation to the operator.

The industry say this puts the new five year + five year + five year contracts dangerous territory when seeking finance to purchase vehicles.

However, this is not the only flaw to the new contracts. The contracts are also seeking operators to purchase Euro 4-compliant vehicles with seat belts and air conditioning. The minimum time given would be six months. The industry is concerned suppliers will not be able to fulfil the demand for new buses.

The industry has also shown concern for the tender process for school bus contracts.

Other states have acknowledged the tender process is riddled with flaws.

There are many issues that need to be addressed in a very short time and this can only happen if the industry has the chance to work with the Government, and the Government takes the opportunity to listen to the industry concerns.

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