| 18.05,17. 06:44 PM |
Traffic chaos as Sydney's bus strike continues into peak hour
Photo: Empty buses at Sydney's Tempe bus depot stand idle as drivers strike against plans to privatise more services. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
Sydney commuters and motorists face more peak hour chaos, as bus drivers continue their strike against the New South Wales Government's plans to privatise services in Sydney's inner-west.
Industrial action went ahead at 12:00am this morning despite a late-night ruling by the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission that the action was illegal.
The 24-hour strike has impacted on all bus routes and school runs in the inner west, and in Sydney's south, taking many commuters by surprise this morning, with lines of people waiting at bus stops.
Transport Management Centre spokesman David Wright said the strike would have a knock-on affect on all road and public transport users throughout the evening.
"Whether it be on the road, on the bus, on the train, light rail and even ferry," he said.
He assured people that private bus services had been scrambled to deal with the lack of public transport caused by the snap strike, with more chartered buses deployed to pick up the slack on affected school bus routes.
Mr Wright also urged employers to be more understanding of their staff who needed to leave early.
The recommendation is, particularly if they've got kids, that employers be a little more compassionate as far as letting their employees go home early particularly to pick their children up," he said.
Bus drivers not to blame for complaints: Unions
Earlier today the State Government said it was considering its legal options to force bus drivers back to work.
About 1,200 drivers refused to operate buses in Sydney's inner west today, after the Government announced plans to privatise the services.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance warned drivers he could take Supreme Court action if they did not obey the Industrial Relations Commission.
"You've got a court ruling on two occasions. Not only only one ruling from the IRC but two. You know, this is bordering on anarchy from the unions," he said.
Mr Constance maintained that services in the city's inner-west and south needed to be privatised because the quality of the service was poor and there was a record number of complaints by the public.
"I'm on the side of the commuter," he said.
"They deserve better and more innovative services in the inner-west, they don't deserve to be treated like this."
But Bob Nanva from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union has denied that bus services are to blame for late services and instead pointed the finger at Sydney's wider traffic congestion woes.
"My message to Minister Constance: Come out of witness protection and explain how privatising these services is going to fix Sydney's gridlocked traffic so these buses run on time and complaints are reduced," he said.
"He won't, because he's a fraud and a phony."