PTA concern over stop-work impact
The Public Transport Authority has expressed concern about the possible impact on both commuters and schoolchildren of tomorrow’s unauthorised stop-work meeting of rail members of the Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union.
Transperth has arranged rail replacement buses from its own fleet but, if the meeting runs past 3pm or votes to stay off work, virtually all these buses will be required for after-school and afternoon peak services.
As well as Transperth buses, private coaches and buses have been chartered and will be used if needed, but their numbers are limited and bottlenecks are inevitable if the drivers stay out.
On the corresponding Friday of last year, Transperth buses carried 71,000 passengers between 3pm and 7pm, while its trains carried a further 35,000. About 20 per cent of these 3pm-7pm bus and train passengers are schoolchildren.
Because of the uncertainty, Transperth is suggesting that commuters and students consider other transport options if they are available.
The stop-work meeting is scheduled to start at 12 noon tomorrow. Train services on all metropolitan lines will be suspended from about 11am as drivers start to walk off the job.
The union refused a PTA request to postpone the meeting until Sunday morning, when the impact on Perth’s travelling public would be greatly reduced, nor would the union give the PTA any assurances that its members would be returning to work.
The meeting has been called to report on the progress of Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations with the PTA. A similar meeting two weeks ago finished just before 3pm and services were back to normal by about 4pm.
However, the previous meeting was during school holidays. Since then, school has resumed.
As was the case on January 30, rail replacement bus services 707 (on the Armadale line), 404 (Joondalup line), 606 (Fremantle line) and 505 (Midland line) will operate to and from Perth, picking up and dropping commuters at the red rail replacement stops near train stations.
The bus trips take longer than the respective rail journeys, so commuters should allow extra travelling time. Surfboards and bicycles are not permitted on Transperth buses.
Last train services tomorrow morning are:
• Perth to Armadale at 10.15am; Armadale to Perth at 10.46am
• Perth to Currambine at 10.30am; Currambine to Perth at 10.58am
• Perth to Fremantle at 10.30am; Fremantle to Perth at 10.57am
• Perth to Midland at 10.45am; Midland to Perth 11am
“We expect demand to be heavy for the buses which replace the trains, so we would urge our customers to be patient and forward-plan their travel,” said PTA Acting CEO Reece Waldock.
Further information is available through the Transperth InfoLine on 13 62 13, TTY:9428 1999 (delays may be encountered) or from the website, www.transperth.wa.gov.au