The Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, today refused to answer questions about whether the Government’s Bus Rationalisation Program, which removed dozens of key stops throughout the inner west just a few months ago, was a ploy to privatise the bus service by stealth.

Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen put the question to the Minister during a fiery question time.

Ms Haylen was thrown out of the Chamber after standing up for commuters and bus drivers.

The plans to remove bus stops were met with outrage from communities across the inner west, including Summer Hill and Canterbury.

Stops close to schools, child-care centres and nursing homes, are slated for removal.  The Government is yet to respond to their consultation over the scheduled removals and has now announced they will sell off bus services throughout the inner west.

The proposal to rationalise stops is currently being assessed for Canterbury, Earlwood, Kingsgrove, Camperdown, Stanmore, Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, Arncliffe, Kogarah, Rockdale and Wolli Creek.

This follows bus stop removals in Rozelle, Lilyfield, Leichhardt, Annandale and Camperdown early last year.

Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen

“It’s clear that the stops are being removed to make the network more attractive to potential buyers.

“The Government needs to come clean. They’ve had their eyes on the inner west bus service for quite some time.

“No matter what the Minister says, there’s only one reason they’re selling off the buses: Whenever they’re faced with a problem, the only thing this Government knows how to do is to sell their way out of it. 

“If residents were furious at bus stops being removed, they are outraged at the Government’s plans to sell off the inner west network.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Canterbury Sophie Cotsis

“The Government has been working to privatise the bus system by stealth.

 “News of the privatisation was leaked out late on a Monday afternoon without consulting commuters, drivers or the unions.

“This Government should have been upfront with the community; they didn’t ask because they knew what answer they’d get.

“People are fed up with the privatisation of public services and are drawing a line at losing our buses.”