The NSW Government will commit to a four point plan to improve bus services for commuters by tackling the current bus driver shortage that has seen the driver vacancy rate as high as 10 per cent across the state.
Minister for Transport David Elliott said the NSW Liberals four point plan would address the severe staff shortages experienced by bus operators across Australia.
“The bus driver shortage is a national, and even international, problem which we are committed to addressing with four important strategies,” Mr Elliott said.
“As part of the NSW Liberals plan, there will be a focus on increasing the number of drivers by securing proficient drivers from overseas, waiving training fees, offering bus drivers in Greater Sydney subsidised travel and giving local communities the opportunity to have input into bus services.”
Key aspects of the Liberal and Nationals plan to address the acute shortage:
- provide free public transport to and from work with an Opal card to be issued to all new and existing drivers across Greater Sydney
- waive the Bus Driver Authority fee and subsidise training course fees
- establish a recruitment taskforce to attract skilled bus drivers from overseas
- invite the community members to ‘have their say’ on what improvements they would like to see across the bus network, including routes and timetables.
“We will continue to work with BusNSW on the future of the bus industry in this State, in addition to the recommendations we’re committing to today,” Mr Elliott added.
Member for Willoughby Tim James said the NSW Government had listened to local communities and was taking steps to recruit more drivers and provide more reliable services now and into the future.
“Bus operators have worked hard to boost their workforce with new starter sign-up bonuses and other incentives. The Liberals offer of free public transport to and from work will drive up recruitment and retention efforts,” Mr James said.
“Waiving the Bus Driver Authority fee and subsidising training course fees will remove barriers to those considering applying for this essential role that is integral to connecting our local communities.”
The Liberal and Nationals will: establish a recruitment taskforce to develop further strategies to recruit and retain bus drivers, including individuals from interstate and overseas; and also assist with the recruitment of bus and coach drivers via support for specific funding for new recruits to upgrade to a Heavy Rigid or Medium Rigid licence to obtain a Bus Driver Authority (BDA) at little or no cost.
Community members are also encouraged to have their say on improvements such as new routes and timetabling as this feedback will inform Transport for NSW’s review of bus services.
Since 2011, the Liberal and Nationals has introduced close to 47,000 extra bus services in Greater Sydney and outer metropolitan areas.
Those interested in becoming a driver are encouraged to find out more at: https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/about-us/careers/bus-driving-jobs-across-nsw