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HomeLatest NewsBus drivers make a B-line for the exit

Bus drivers make a B-line for the exit

Scores of Northern Beaches buses are being cancelled – including more than two dozen B-line services and over 30 other general services just yesterday – as driver shortages continue to affect local transport.

Yesterday,  27 April 2022, more than two dozen services of the newly-minted yellow double-decker buses were cancelled. Keolis Downer Northern Beaches (KDNB),  the new private operators of the local bus services including B-Line, say they too are affected by a bus driver shortage.

This follows Manly Observer’s 19 April article reporting on sudden cancellations to the Forest Coach Lines bus services around Balgowlah, Belrose, Frenchs Forest and Terrey Hills.

KDNB confirmed the cancellations and their principle cause.

“A total of 342 B-Line (B1) services are operated on a regular weekday,” a spokesperson told Manly Observer. “Today 27/04/22 – 28 B1 services were cancelled due to staff shortages that KDNB is experiencing. A total of 61 services were cancelled across the region on 27/04/22 and 28 of them were B1 services. The cancellations were not consecutive services, rather spread out over the day (mainly AM and PM peak where the frequency is less than five mins between services).”

We were contacted by commuters early Wednesday morning asking if all services to the B1 line had been stopped as they waited for their usual service to arrive without avail.

The operators could not guarantee an improvement in service availability today or in the near future until the shortage is resolved.

Screenshot from a Transport for NSW promotional video for B-Line buses.

Who are Keolis Downer, operators of the B-Line buses?

Keolis Downer is a joint venture between transport multinational Keolis, 70% owned by Paris-based SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français = French National Railway Company), France’s largest private sector transport group, and North Ryde-based Downer Rail, part of the transport, energy, mining and industrial giant Downer Group.

Downer owns a 49% stake in the venture, which provides trains, trams, buses and a range of other transportation options nationwide.

According to their website, “Keolis Downer is Australia’s largest private provider of multi-modal public transport, with a presence in five states, and delivering 250 million passenger trips each year.”

Screenshot from a Transport for NSW promotional video for B-Line buses.

Shortly after their foundation, in June 2009, the franchise for Melbourne’s tram network, Yarra Trams, was awarded to Keolis Downer, which commenced operation on 30 November 2009. They retained the name, but changed the logo and repainted the trams with new yellow doors.

They took over operations of Northern Beaches bus services in 2021.


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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

Kim Smee, Editor

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