Sydney buses running late

Poor on time performance is the only mark against Sydney Metropolitan bus contracts

The acting auditor general of New South Wales has slammed the NSW State Transit Authority (STA) for its buses constantly running late.

Public services provided by the NSW Government were put under the microscope as part of the 2014-2015 annual report process.

The resulting report showed STA’s on-time performance to be poor, upon its release this week.

STA's punctuality is improving, but is worse than private operators and other areas of performance are generally below private operators, according to the report.

NSW acting auditor-general Tony Whitfield says while patronage is increasing, and the costs of providing services are now lower than under the old contracts, services are rarely on time.

On the upside, services provided under Sydney metropolitan bus contracts have largely been effective and efficient, according to the report.

Operators are mostly meeting their key performance indicators and customer satisfaction is better than under the previous contracts and steadily improving.

Patronage is also on the climb and the costs of providing services are more affordable than under previous contracts.

However, the report is far from peaches and cream and presents some specific suggestions on policy change that may improve performance.

Private operators are mostly starting their trips on time, but rarely meeting their mid and end-of-trip targets, according to the report.

STA’s poor on time performance may be because its contracts do not offer the same incentives as private operators, as STA is not subjected to financial penalties for poor performance, Whitfield suggests.

Private operators’ contracts do have incentives that promote efficiency and effectiveness, but according to Whitfield, incentives for mid and end trip punctuality are limited.

While Whitfield feels Sydney Metropolitan bus contracts have improved significantly compared to 2010, lack lustre on time performance must be addressed, for the NSW Government to achieve maximum value.

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