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NSW government to pick up pieces of Region 10 bus services

BREAKING: The NSW government has stepped in to fix Region 10 bus contract services, stripping an operator of services and removing the managing director

The NSW government says it is moving to improve bus services in Region 10 as the current operator isn’t delivering at the expected level of service for the community.

The government says current private operator and holder of the Region 10 contract, U-Go Mobility, has failed to deliver the expected level of service for the community.

The current government says the Region 10 contract was signed weeks before the election by the old state government.

The NSW government says the winning bid for the Region 10 contract was determined by which operator could deliver for the lowest price instead of focusing on an improved level of service for passengers.

NSW transport minister Jo Haylen says Transport for NSW will step in to manage day-to-day operations in Region 10 alongside U-Go Mobility.

“Everything we are doing is about making sure bus services are more reliable for the community and that we are supporting our bus drivers,” Haylen says.

“I’ve directed Transport for NSW to step in to improve bus services in Region 10 to fix up the former government’s failures. There have been some improvements to services but there is still more to do to improve performance.

“I want to make this arrangement work but services in Region 10 must improve. All options remain on the table if we don’t see further improvements to services from the operator.” 

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Since Transport for NSW’s intervention, service cancellations have declined from 28 per cent to 13 per cent, but the state government says this number is still too high and there is still more to do to get bus services in Region 10 back on the road. 

Transport for NSW has also taken responsibility for other bus service operations including:

  • Scheduling and implementing a more reliable timetable for customers from Monday July 31 
  • Re-working current turn-around times for routes to ensure an adequate pre-trip brief is given to drivers. This will help to eliminate stops being missed or drivers taking the wrong route
  • Meeting with U-Go Mobility management and executives several times a week to ensure resourcing is adequate and the operator is making progress in improving performance.  

Haylen has also directed Transport for NSW to give some school service routes to another operator to run in the short term to ensure that these key community services are prioritised. 

Under this arrangement, the U-Go Mobility managing director will no longer be working for the operator.

Haylen and Transport for NSW also reserves the right to further exercise the step in rights and fully take over the contract if further improvements are not made.  

U-Go Mobility has also adopted a range of measures to address the driver shortage, to retain staff and to attract drivers, including $5000 retention and sign on bonuses.  

Transport for NSW has already put in place a number of other day-to-day measures to support bus operations in Region 10 including:  

  • Dedicated Transport staff monitoring region 10 bus services in real time to identify and report issues directly to the operator and Transport Management Centre
  • Dedicated Transport staff are responding to customer enquiries and liaising with key stakeholders including schools, local councils and local members  
  • Transport commanders deployed to key interchanges to help customers on the ground 
  • A Dedicated timetable team to ensure the adjusted timetable is prioritising dedicated schools services and regular route services that carry a large cohort of school students
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