Newcastle buses: Sonia Hornery takes Keolis Downer issue to Parliament

Keolis Downer blamed technical issues for underpaying bus drivers.

Keolis Downer blamed technical issues for underpaying bus drivers.

WALLSEND MP Sonia Hornery has pledged to take dropped Newcastle bus services to Parliament in a bid to fix the problem. 

The Newcastle Herald has reported more than 300 services have been cancelled in the last 10 weeks across the network operated by Keolis Downer since July. 

Driver payment has also been an ongoing problem, with Transport Minister Andrew Constance putting the operator on notice after one driver said the problems meant “morale is at an all-time low”.

Ms Hornery urged to government to intervene. 

“The trips heading to the far reaches of the Wallsend electorate are the first to be cancelled, despite being some of the busiest services in Newcastle, leaving commuters with very expensive taxi rides to be able to get to work or class on time,” Ms Hornery said. 

“Despite raising these concerns directly with the company, they have not responded to any of my emails or letters on behalf of constituents.”

FIX IT: Transport Minister Andrew Constance demanded Keolis Downer fix Newcastle payroll issues urgently.

FIX IT: Transport Minister Andrew Constance demanded Keolis Downer fix Newcastle payroll issues urgently.

“And to make matters worse, in all of the media reports on radio and in newspapers, the company has not once apologised to the customers that it left stranded.”

The Rail, Transport and Bus Union has previously revealed it had taken Keolis Downer to the Fair Work Commission over the payroll issues.

Keolis Downer chief executive Campbell Mason previously said the underpayments were caused by “issues associated with the migration of data between rostering and payroll systems”.

“An eight person taskforce is working to address the issues which have caused these errors,” he added.

“Our staff are the key to the effective delivery of services to the Newcastle community. We are growing our pool of drivers to deliver a more resilient operation.”

He has said the company is working to recruit more drivers to avoid shortfalls.

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