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Critics of the State Government's bus privatisation plans for the inner west say a similar scheme in Newcastle has created a public backlash.
“We know that privatising essential services does not necessarily improve them but rather reduces them as private operators seek to maximise their profits and minimize their overheads,” Ms Leong said.
“This privatisation could mean reduced services to commuters and public transport users in the inner west.”
“There has been a groundswell of support in our community to keep inner west buses in public hands,” she said.
“The privatisation of Sydney’s buses will lead to fewer stops, fewer buses and longer journeys times.”
Rail, Tram and Bus Union divisional secretary Chris Preston said NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance had ignored the wishes of thousands of Sydney commuters.
“I completely understand why the community is furious,” Mr Preston said.
He said commuters were right to be concerned, pointing to the Newcastle sell-off to Keolis Downer last year.
“The privatisation of Sydney’s buses will lead to fewer stops, fewer buses and longer journey times,” he said.
Newcastle routes were overhauled in January, and have sparked protests, community meetings of up to 1000 people, and social media campaigns.
Newcastle University students are among those hardest hit by the route changes, as many now struggle to get to, and between, the two campuses.
The Newcastle University Students Association has penned a letter to Mr Constance, condemning the government for “ignoring the community’s concern with the sell-off”.
The association said buses were often late or did not show up, and that some students had to catch three or four buses, instead of one, to get to class.
Jasmin Ward, a Newcastle University student and bus commuter, said the route changes had been the biggest flaw in the privatisation.
“The routes are now shorter and don't actually go to the main points of the city,” Miss Ward said.
“A lot of the services people need are in the CBD, and buses only get them halfway there or they have to change busses,” she said.
“I cannot see how privatisation would solve any problems in Sydney. Really, it would likely exacerbate them or create new ones.”
A Transport for NSW spokesperson said the people of the Inner West would experience significantly improved bus services under Transit Systems which will being operating from July 1.
"From day one, customers will be able to order an on-demand bus with five mini-buses operating in the Canada Bay, Concord and Strathfield areas seven days a week."
"These services are designed to better connect customers with existing mass transit services in Region 6. For example. they will connect poorly serviced areas around Rhodes, Concord and Mortlake, with high frequency ferry services at Cabaret and express rail services at Strathfield."
Keolis Downer was contacted for comment.