Getting around Sydney’s inner west and to work by bus today will be impossible with more than 1000 drivers on the 233 routes the NSW government wants to privatise on strike for 24 hours.
Drivers walked off the job from midnight Wednesday with the depots in Leichhardt, Tempe, Burwood and Kingsgrove involved in the action, leaving the inner west and large parts of southern Sydney without buses.
The main routes are effected are services in the 400 to 509 range.
School bus services have also stopped in the area, so parents should make alternative arrangements. School Opal passes have been made valid on other forms of public transport.
The union claims NSW transport minister Andrew Constance has broken a promise made in December guaranteeing the service for five years.
Transport for NSW went to the Industrial Relations Commission on Wednesday night, which ruled that the strike was illegal.
The minister issued a statement saying he hoped the drivers would ignore the strike called by the union
“I expect the union to comply, and I hope drivers ignore the union bosses’ reckless behaviour,” he said.
“Anyone who takes part in an illegal strike will not be paid.”
On Monday, the minister announced the government would privatise 233 bus routes in the area known as region 6 because it considers complaint levels too high.
Former transport minister, now premier Gladys Berejiklian, threatened privatisation in 2012 if complaint levels did not improve.
“Inner West services attracted the highest number of complaints out of Sydney’s metropolitan area in recent years, well above the results of bordering regions operated by private industry. It also had one of the worst on-time running results last year,” Constance said announcing the privatisation plan on Monday.
“There have been improvements in recent years, but State Transit still lags a long way behind its industry competitors in measures like on-time running and reliability.”
The government will continue to own Region 6 buses and assets, including depots, and set Opal fares and timetables.
The privatisation is expected to be completed by July 2018.
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