Australia, Bus Industry News

Tasmanian government gives Metro bus drivers pay rise

While Tasmanian Metro bus drivers will get a temporary pay rise, the state government is giving plenty more to the operator

The Tasmanian government has announced the first step in its $8.1 million Metro support package, with bus drivers to receive a pay rise effective immediately.

As part of the initiative, all Metro bus operators will receive a temporary pay increase and will receive back pay to November 1 as part of the pay cycle.

“The Tasmanian government has announced the support package for Metro to help overcome its driver shortage and restore full service delivery as soon as possible,” Tasmanian transport minister Michael Ferguson says.

“Rather than delaying payment to negotiate a new enterprise agreement, Metro has worked with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) to pay this increase now in recognition of cost of living pressures and the contribution of bus operators to the business.

“In order to deliver this temporary pay rise as quickly as possible, it will occur in two payments.”

In addition to this pay rise for bus drivers, the support package will accelerate phase two of the transit officer deployment, with individual officers to be authorised by the Transport Commissioner to undertake new, tougher powers including issuing infringement notices and removing disorderly passengers.

The regulations allowing for these extra powers have been developed and the Department of State Growth is now working through the practical implementation of the regulations, including a training package, to progress to the Transport Commissioner for approval.

“The pilot of transit officers in the south of the state has been met with positive feedback since their introduction in early April, bringing comfort to drivers and passengers,” Ferguson says.

“The deployment of body-worn cameras acts as a deterrent and provides crucial evidence when passengers do the wrong thing.

“Importantly, this is no longer a trial – transit officers will be deployed permanently, on other operators’ buses as well, and in the major centres state-wide.”

The Tasmanian government is also giving Metro $2 million to implement security screens across its fleet to help drivers feel safe at work.

Metro is currently investigating security screens to provide a protective barrier for drivers while also considering how to mitigate a visual impediment identified through a recent trial.

The government will also provide a further $2 million to enable Metro to implement an improved IT system that replaces its ageing rostering system that limits flexible working arrangements.

“This will enable Metro to be more agile in its rostering, and able to offer flexible and attractive shifts,” Ferguson says.

“We fully understand that reliability and access are crucial to ensuring more people use our buses – and to ensure the full benefits of our $81.5 million investment in public transport over four years – which includes more park and rides, more bus shelters and better access, more services and a common ticketing system.”

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