Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Member for Clark
Metro service cancellations in southern Tasmania continue to cause chaos and disruption for commuters and students.
An urgent, effective fix is needed.
Transport Minister Michael Ferguson needs to stop making excuses and put all the options on the table to get buses back on the road.
88 Metro Services were cancelled today. That’s hundreds, if not thousands, of people stranded.
Whether it’s accessing work, education, healthcare or just going to the shop, public transport is an essential service. It’s relied on by many in the community, and should be reliable.
Under Michael Ferguson, bus cancellations are skyrocketing, directly impacting on the lives of Tasmanians. People are losing work hours and students missing out on learning.
Yet the Minister refuses to lift a finger.
If Minister Ferguson was serious about a solution, he would put all options on the table. He must look at doing more to protect drivers from illness and stress, review pay rates and conditions for Metro drivers, and make public transport free.
Fares are often a key point of tension that leads to anti-social behaviours. When the Liberals made buses free for five weeks last year, anti-social behaviour dropped significantly.
Given the Rockliff Government’s refusal to protect Tasmanians, Covid is also widespread in the community. It’s having an effect on staffing everywhere, including Metro.
These are genuine issues that warrant the Minister’s consideration. Of course, if recruiting and keeping drivers is an issue, the Minister should take a hard look at their pay and conditions.
Minister Ferguson might be too out of touch to realise it, but not everyone has secure employment, a boss who understands why you’re late, or the money to cover a missed medical appointment. Being able to order a taxi when your bus doesn’t come is a luxury too few can afford.
It’s past time for Minister Ferguson to consider reasonable solutions to Tasmania’s bus chaos. This is on him.