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HomeLatest NewsCancel culture: peak hour bus services cut on Northern Beaches

Cancel culture: peak hour bus services cut on Northern Beaches

About 180 daily peak hour bus services will be axed under a temporary move by NSW Transport and private operators Keolis Downer, to rein in the number of services it is regularly forced to cancel due to driver shortages.

The new timetable, kicking off at the end of school holidays on 17 July, will primarily cut services to bus routes from the Northern Beaches heading to the CBD and North Sydney and back during the morning and evening peak.

While B-Line services during peak will not be impacted, there will be less frequent or adjusted timings for the following services: 162, 201, 228, 230, 243, 246, 249, 150X, 154X, 165X, 168X, 170X, 171X, 172X, 174X, 176X, 177X, 180X, 181X, 190X.

It represents about a five per cent cut to total services, which equates to 182 of 3863 daily.

Queues on Pittwater Rd, Dee Why, for the morning B-line bus to the city. Photo: Alec Smart

The timetable was approved by NSW Transport in order for the operators to “provide passengers with a more reliable timetable.”

“The temporary reduced timetable has been designed to improve the predictability and visibility of available services, allowing passengers to better plan their journey using online trip planning,” a Keolis Downer spokesperson said.

“Transport for NSW will work with Keolis Downer to monitor performance and driver numbers to ensure the return to the full timetable as soon as possible.

“We know that our services are not meeting passenger expectations and we are working hard to get more drivers safely on to the road to return services to where they need to be.

“The changes are focused on high-frequency route corridors and mainly affect peak hour routes to the CBD and North Sydney.”

Public Transport Forum, Dee Why on 24 June 2023.

The spokesperson added, “Keolis Downer Northern Beaches acknowledges the impact that bus cancellations have had for our passengers. We appreciate their patience and understanding whilst we work through the challenge of the current bus driver shortage and encourage anyone interested in becoming a driver visit getbehindthewheel.com.au.”

Some changes permanent

In addition to the temporary changes being introduced across the network, there will also be some permanent changes to services in Avalon in response to recent road and traffic upgrades. These include routes 191, 192, 190X and the 199. We are not clear on what these changes are, and will update in due course.

School services to the Northern Beaches Secondary College Manly Campus and route 177 have also changed to accommodate new bell times set by the campus.

“To help our passengers with the changes, we will have Customer Service Officers at key bus stops during peak times to provide information on alternative services, other than the B-Line, that will get customers to their destination,” the spokesperson said.

Notification posters will also be placed on affected bus stops.

Forum held at Dee Why

The announcement follows a recent bus passenger forum held at Dee Why to record commuter opinion on local transport functionality.

Before the debut forum, Manly Observer visited the Brookvale Bus Depot with Transport Parliamentary Secretary Dr Marjorie O’Neill, observing discussions with Keolis Downer Managing Director Mark Dunlop as well as frank discussions with bus drivers on site. We will publish our report on this shortly.

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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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