SYDNEY BUS REGIONS 7, 8, 9 ‘FRANCHISING’ DELAYED

Photography by: Fabian Cotter


PRIVATISATION of Sydney’s remaining bus contracts – Regions, 7, 8 and 9 – have been delayed due to the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus and will have a staggered ‘hand over’ from May, 2021, until April, 2022, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, recently.

SYDNEY BUS REGIONS 7, 8, 9 ‘FRANCHISING’ DELAYED
According to the SMH article, Transport for NSW secretary Rodd Staples wrote in a letter last month that: “Following a period of further market sounding and assessment of the impact of Covid-19, a decision was made to stagger the Request for Tenders and transition dates."

The SMH article states the media outlet has cited ‘documents’ that essentially outlines a re-envisaged rollout by the NSW State Government of the winning tender announcements for the affected regions, due to the current pandemic.

"The coronavirus pandemic is delaying the controversial privatisation of bus services in Sydney’s northern and eastern suburbs by up to a year," the article states.

"The contracts for bus regions 7, 8 and 9 – covering Sydney’s north-western suburbs, northern beaches and eastern suburbs – were all slated for handing over to private operators between November and 2021.

The government, however, will now delay and stagger the tender process for the regional services, according to documents seen by The Herald."

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It continues: "The transition for region 8 (northern beaches) is now proposed to begin in May next year, concluding in October; region 7 (north-west) will begin in August next year, ending in December; and region 9 (east) will begin in November next year, concluding in April 2022."

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STAGGERED DATES

According to the article, Transport for NSW secretary Rodd Staples wrote in a letter last month that: "Following a period of further market sounding and assessment of the impact of COVID-19, a decision was made to stagger the Request for Tenders and transition dates."

When SMH contacted TfNSW for comment, it confirms a spokesperson said the decision was made to adjust the franchising timeline after the government consulted with the private sector over "…the impacts of Covid-19 on prospective tenderers".

"The procurement timeline has been adjusted to allow for maximum bidder participation while maintaining an equal playing field," the spokesman said.

The SMH explains the spokesperson said the tenders were being staggered to, "…maximise competition and optimise the quality of the tenders" submitted for each of the three contracts.

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In a briefing document marked "sensitive" and handed to transport staff in May, State Transit confirmed that non-operational staff – including finance, scheduling and fleet operations – will not be guaranteed jobs under the new private operator, the SMH reports.

It added that it was unknown what impact the coronavirus restrictions would have on the transition rollout, says the SMH.

It then states Labor member for Coogee Marjorie O’Neill said the NSW government’s decision to push ahead with the franchising during an economic downturn was, "…short sighted and economically irresponsible".

The full SMH story can be found here: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/coronavirus-pushes-back-government-privatisation-of-sydney-bus-services-20200603-p54z4l.html

 

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