FAMILY BUS BUSINESS SOLIDARITY SHOWN; NSW RALLY SUCCESS

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: David Hill, Deep Hill Media


MORE THAN 50 family owned and independent buses circled NSW State Parliament in a rally to highlight their pandemic-induced plight and lobby for a government rescue package, recently.

FAMILY BUS BUSINESS SOLIDARITY SHOWN; NSW RALLY SUCCESS
Under the banner Australian Family-Owned Bus Companies, rally organisers would like to drive the lobby to Federal Parliament in Canberra to support intra- and inter-state colleagues at a date to be announced.

Held on Wednesday, September 16, Australian Family-Owned Bus Companies group spokesman Rod Williams, who owns Near or Far Bus & Coach in the Blue Mountains, says he was pleased with the turnout and show of solidarity from companies from Sydney and surrounds as far afield as Canberra, and Newcastle and Kempsey on the far north coast.

"It’s a phenomenal effort," Williams said. "There’s obviously a lot of pain out there."

Arranged to police requirements, the convoy of 53 vehicles was a peaceful demonstration representing regional and city bus operators, their staff and service providers, with buses tooting horns past Parliament House, organisers explain.

"We’re not out to cause trouble. We’re doing things right. All we’ve done is ask for help.

Dozens of family owned and independent buses are on the brink of collapse, thousands of drivers could lose their jobs and ‘mum and dad’ operators stand to lose their homes as an impact of COVID-19 restrictions, the group states.

While smaller bus companies were grateful for government help such as JobKeeper and did not begrudge the success of large companies - which were needed to maintain the industry – organisers say many aspects of the industry had been overlooked and they needed help with:

* Costs – depot rent; tolls; and vehicle registration, insurance and fuel;

* Work – fair share of government transport jobs for work such as hotel quarantine transfers and rail replacement transport;

* Stimulus package to remain viable and employ staff.

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Under the banner Australian Family-Owned Bus Companies, rally organisers would like to drive the lobby to Federal Parliament in Canberra to support intra- and inter-state colleagues at a date to be announced in future.

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