Newcastle Buses reliability going backwards, with operator blaming inner city congestion

CONGESTION: Keolis Downer says congestion in the city, especially in King Street, is to blame for worsening on-time running results.
CONGESTION: Keolis Downer says congestion in the city, especially in King Street, is to blame for worsening on-time running results.

ON-TIME running statistics for Newcastle Buses deteriorated during the first three months of the service’s running under its new private-sector operator, Keolis Downer.

A Keolis Downer graph shows that in July 2017, when the company began running the buses, 95 per cent of all services were on time at the start of their journeys. By November, this had fallen to 79 per cent.

Measured mid-journey, on-time running fell from 87 per cent to 52 per cent.

Measured at the end of the journey, on-time running fell from 90 per cent in July to 68 per cent in November.

In a note accompanying the graph, Keolis Downer said it did not meet its “key performance indicators” target, but it was “recognised that factors such as Supercars, school formals and King Street congestion impacted on these results”.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said bus drivers were doing their best, but Keolis Downer had been plagued by rostering and scheduling issues, service cancellations, staff resourcing problems and traffic chaos caused by the light rail project.

“The private operator has failed to meet their on-time running targets 14 out of 15 times since July 2017,” Mr Crakanthorp said.

“On-time running  has steadily declined since the July 1 privatisation.”

Keolis Downer it was confident the new network starting on January 14 and providing an extra 1000 services a week would improve the bus service’s on-time running performance.

FACTS AND FIGURES: Keolis Downer graph portraying the declining on-time running statistics.

FACTS AND FIGURES: Keolis Downer graph portraying the declining on-time running statistics.

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