Drivers concerned

New South Wales bus drivers are concerned for their safety amid pressure from the State Government

The New South Wales Transport Workers’ Union says systemic safety issues highlighted in a major new bus driver survey have been largely caused by State Government tendering process.

Secretary Wayne Forno says since the State Government introduced its competitive tendering process in 2012, safety has taken a back seat in the New South Wales bus industry.

"When you pressure a bus driver you are putting their passengers’ lives at risk," he says.

"New South Wales bus drivers are now starting to face the same pressures that have seen the trucking industry become the deadliest place to work in Australia."

The major new industry survey shows 55 per cent of bus drivers reporting maintenance issues going unresolved,  90 per cent of drivers pressured to drive unsafely by on-time running schedules, and

32 per cent of drivers have experienced physical assault or racial abuse.

"There are bus drivers under enormous pressure because of impossible timetables and there are drivers experiencing harassment, assault and racial vilification from frustrated passengers," says Forno.

"The only way they can make up this shortfall is to pressure drivers, cut buses and skimp on maintenance."

Forno says bus drivers provide an essential community service, getting kids to school, commuters to work and making sure seniors stay mobile. 

The results are based on responses from 285 bus drivers across Western Sydney and New South Wales.

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