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Save Our Buses

By Dr Marjorie O'Neill: Member for Coogee on June 12, 2021 in Other

Our local member in action. Photo: Max Kennedy

I have lived in the Eastern Suburbs all my life, and without a doubt, I have never known our community to be as angry as it is today at the very real prospect of losing so many of its cherished buses.
The NSW Liberal government has announced that 25 bus routes are going to be axed from the Eastern Suburbs. These are much-loved bus services that local people rely on each and every day. This is the most outrageous attack on a community’s basic services that we have ever witnessed.
The brutal cuts will see bus services and bus stops removed right across our community.
People from all walks of life and from every corner of the Eastern Suburbs will be impacted by these ruthless service cuts, however we know that it will be the more vulnerable members of our community that will be the most affected.
The elderly, the less physically able, parents with small children and people who do not own a car are being literally isolated and left unable to travel to needed services – unless they can afford taxis or else navigate more difficult, less direct and slower services. Commuters will need to leave earlier to get to work in the morning and will be arriving home later, giving them less precious time to spend with family and friends.
The NSW government’s purpose is to force people onto the underpatronised light rail, which has failed to deliver the number of passengers that had been promised to the private operator. Currently, the NSW taxpayer is footing the bill and subsidising the private operator’s profits. Now, the NSW government will further punish the people of the Eastern Suburbs by removing much-needed and beloved bus services.
The government has been open about the fact that they are targeting the ‘empty services’, stating that they will be redirected to areas that need them most. The services being described as ‘empty’ are vital services that operate throughout the day and take local people to essential places like St Vincent’s Hospital, the Sydney Eye Hospital and Taylor Square, or to essential services in Bondi Junction, Frenchmans Road and Sydney Airport.
Over the last few years, as my office began to raise concerns about our public transport, we have heard from thousands of people across our community who have shared stories of how they depend on public transport to get where they need to go. That is why so many people attended our recent rally in High Cross Park, to add their voice to the chorus to Save Our Buses.
This government needs to listen to the people of the Eastern Suburbs in order to make decisions that are in the public interest. That is why we are calling on this government to immediately establish an independent inquiry, at arm’s length from government, into the removal of these bus services and the planned privatisation, before any more cuts are made.
It is the role of government to make the lives of people better, not worse. We want and we need our buses.