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Why bother running buses at all? ACTION reveals Easter services

johnboy 4 April 2012 48

ACTION have announced their “services” for the Easter long weekend.

ACTION will be operating to a Sunday timetable over the Easter long weekend, from Friday 6 April to Monday 9 April. View Sunday timetable…

Because running a Saturday service on the Saturday was just too hard?


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48 Responses to Why bother running buses at all? ACTION reveals Easter services
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damien haas damien haas 10:57 pm 12 Apr 12

Bussie said :

But hey you catch buses I guess so that makes you an expert on everything to do with ACTION.

Not at all. I do have a professional interest in business processes. Observing ACTION is a constant fascination. I also engage with people who work for ACTION, who have worked for ACTION and various professionals in the transport sector.

I am also a public transport advocate, who lobbies for more resources for public transport.

Bussie said :

Management could define what a reasonable amount of weekend work is but this would have to be part of the EBA and as I’ve said earlier on this very thread compulsory weekend work will not be agreed to without some form of compensation.

And of course you would be happy to lose the composite wage you currently receive to gain this compensation for weekend work wouldn’t you.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:49 pm 12 Apr 12

Bussie said :

damien haas said :

One of the reason ACTION has difficulty retaining drivers is the archaic union controlled driver scheduling system, that relies upon driver seniority to determine who works certain shifts.

When new drivers qualify and start work as ‘part time drivers’ they dont want to work crappy shifts forever. They soon realise that even on full time they will work poor shifts – because senior drivers dont want to work shifts like say weekends and public holidays. Because of seniority – they dont have to. Senior drivers choose the good shifts first.

New drivers soon realise they will be doing all the evening shifts because they are the lowest on the totem pole. perhaps thats the reason they leave ? because they see that they cant advance through hard work – just time serving.

Heres a bold idea: schedule a network so that all shifts and routes are worked fairly by all drivers. driver x who hasnt worked a weekend since the new eba might find every 6 weeks he has to turn up on a sunday.

ACTION management could also define what ‘a reasonable amount’ of weekend work is and plug that into the algorithm that assigns shifts.

Senior drivers not wanting to work weekends and public holidays is separate from seniority and has no bearing on what shifts less senior drivers work during the week.

Weekend shifts are allocated randomly with everyone getting one every second weekend. Drivers can then say accept or decline the shift. Those not offered a shift that weekend or wanting a different one can specify when on the weekend they are available to work. Absolutely nothing to do with seniority. But hey you catch buses I guess so that makes you an expert on everything to do with ACTION.

Weekday shifts are picked around once a year by seniority. This system is pretty common not just in bus companies but also widely used by airlines. It’s pretty hard for management to differentiate the performance of one bus driver from another so the most likely alternatives to seniority would be either that the best shifts go to the biggest arse-kissers or that all drivers do a different shift every week. Both pretty shitty options in my opinion.

The real reason for the high turnover is the wait of at least 2 and sometimes up to 4 years to go from part-time to full-time. It’s hard for a driver with a young family and a mortgage to get by on part time hours even working a lot of weekends.

Management could define what a reasonable amount of weekend work is but this would have to be part of the EBA and as I’ve said earlier on this very thread compulsory weekend work will not be agreed to without some form of compensation.

It is well past time to privatise this cowboy operation.

Bussie Bussie 9:36 pm 12 Apr 12

damien haas said :

One of the reason ACTION has difficulty retaining drivers is the archaic union controlled driver scheduling system, that relies upon driver seniority to determine who works certain shifts.

When new drivers qualify and start work as ‘part time drivers’ they dont want to work crappy shifts forever. They soon realise that even on full time they will work poor shifts – because senior drivers dont want to work shifts like say weekends and public holidays. Because of seniority – they dont have to. Senior drivers choose the good shifts first.

New drivers soon realise they will be doing all the evening shifts because they are the lowest on the totem pole. perhaps thats the reason they leave ? because they see that they cant advance through hard work – just time serving.

Heres a bold idea: schedule a network so that all shifts and routes are worked fairly by all drivers. driver x who hasnt worked a weekend since the new eba might find every 6 weeks he has to turn up on a sunday.

ACTION management could also define what ‘a reasonable amount’ of weekend work is and plug that into the algorithm that assigns shifts.

Senior drivers not wanting to work weekends and public holidays is separate from seniority and has no bearing on what shifts less senior drivers work during the week.

Weekend shifts are allocated randomly with everyone getting one every second weekend. Drivers can then say accept or decline the shift. Those not offered a shift that weekend or wanting a different one can specify when on the weekend they are available to work. Absolutely nothing to do with seniority. But hey you catch buses I guess so that makes you an expert on everything to do with ACTION.

Weekday shifts are picked around once a year by seniority. This system is pretty common not just in bus companies but also widely used by airlines. It’s pretty hard for management to differentiate the performance of one bus driver from another so the most likely alternatives to seniority would be either that the best shifts go to the biggest arse-kissers or that all drivers do a different shift every week. Both pretty shitty options in my opinion.

The real reason for the high turnover is the wait of at least 2 and sometimes up to 4 years to go from part-time to full-time. It’s hard for a driver with a young family and a mortgage to get by on part time hours even working a lot of weekends.

Management could define what a reasonable amount of weekend work is but this would have to be part of the EBA and as I’ve said earlier on this very thread compulsory weekend work will not be agreed to without some form of compensation.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 12:54 pm 10 Apr 12

monorail

Thumper Thumper 12:28 pm 10 Apr 12

Perhaps, instead of writing about it on here, vent your frustrations in an official capacity to the ACT Government. If you don’t, they’ll do it over and over again just because they think no one is bothered.

And therein lies the problem as this government, firmly ensconced forever, couldn’t give a toss what the community actually thinks.

BigDave BigDave 12:12 pm 10 Apr 12

Tendering out routes won’t happen unless they are proven to make a profit. The only way for that to happen is a huge increase in patronage and, dare I say it, fares (which is what a private owner will do anyway).
I believe that this was looked into before with a prospective buyer. The only route that they were interested in was the 300 Intertown run because, on it’s own, it turned a profit. Naturally, Action didn’t want to part with it.

BigDave BigDave 11:45 am 10 Apr 12

You are probably right about the seniority situation, Damien. That will no doubt put a lot of people off the job. But if someone is willing to work poor shifts, nights etc. for X amount of years, then I believe that the wage they are being paid is a fair one. I certainly wouldn’t do it for any less and I doubt any of the knockers here would either. Perhaps some of them should try it, I guarantee they’d change their opinion pretty quickly.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that drivers are rorting the system because right now there aren’t that many weekend shifts. If all the drivers were to turn up to work every Saturday and Sunday, there’d be a lot of people going back home again. What tends to happen is that the older drivers who don’t necessarily want or need the extra money leave the weekend shifts to the part timers who actually do need it. I think that’s pretty fair. The only way to make everyone work these hours would require a 7 day network to be implemented so the number of shifts would be increased.

There’s not really any problem with weekend shifts getting covered that I’ve heard about. If a bus doesn’t run, you’ll generally find that it’s mechanical failure and Action don’t employ spare drivers on weekends so these runs tend to get dropped.

damien haas damien haas 1:53 am 10 Apr 12

One of the reason ACTION has difficulty retaining drivers is the archaic union controlled driver scheduling system, that relies upon driver seniority to determine who works certain shifts.

When new drivers qualify and start work as ‘part time drivers’ they dont want to work crappy shifts forever. They soon realise that even on full time they will work poor shifts – because senior drivers dont want to work shifts like say weekends and public holidays. Because of seniority – they dont have to. Senior drivers choose the good shifts first.

New drivers soon realise they will be doing all the evening shifts because they are the lowest on the totem pole. perhaps thats the reason they leave ? because they see that they cant advance through hard work – just time serving.

Heres a bold idea: schedule a network so that all shifts and routes are worked fairly by all drivers. driver x who hasnt worked a weekend since the new eba might find every 6 weeks he has to turn up on a sunday.

ACTION management could also define what ‘a reasonable amount’ of weekend work is and plug that into the algorithm that assigns shifts.

I would like to see a well run, 100% on time bus network. That would attract more patronage and give confidence to passengers. The drivers have to realise that ACTION is not a sheltered workshop, its a public transport service. Note that word – public.

Anyone who has a brain can see that the way newly introduced ACTION routes are being funded separately indicates that a future government could decide to tender for say all RAPID services, or all services in new areas. The time serving dont want to work weekend staffing structure of ACTION means it probably wouldnt be able to satisfy a tender that wanted a service run seven days a week with 99% on time running. Any number of privately run bus companies who have employees on more flexible working arrangements might win and successfully manage those contracts.

BigDave BigDave 9:23 pm 09 Apr 12

That is also correct, Damien. They are required to do a “reasonable amount” of weekend work, but ask anyone, and no one knows how much (or how little) a “reasonable amount” actually is. It’s not written anywhere. Maybe that’s Action’s fault for not setting it out straight in the first place.
Buzz, that’s a little far-fetched. And as for trolley pushers and sandwich makers having the same skills, well that’s a pretty ridiculous comparison.
Let’s face it, if driving for Action was such a bed of roses, anyone (with no skills) could do it and, as you say, get paid a hell of a lot of money then we’d all be doing it wouldn’t we?
The fact of the matter is we aren’t and Action don’t have people beating down their door to get a job. Far from it. If anything, they are constantly short of drivers and find it difficult to attract and recruit people.
So, why is that then if the road to Action is paved with gold?

damien haas damien haas 8:09 pm 09 Apr 12

BigDave said :

Regarding composite rates and weekend work for drivers:
From what I have been told, Action management approached the TWU about bringing in compulsory weekend work. Since the current arrangement, with a composite rate, allows drivers the freedom to pick and choose which ones they want to work, it would require a complete change of the system.
A penalty rate would have to be applied as you are effectively telling people which weekends they are working so changing what they call “ordinary work hours”.
Secondly, they would have to include leave and superannuation entitlements as under the current EBA, weekends are classed as overtime and are not given.
They would also need to incorporate a 6 or 7 day network with a 6 or 7 day roster for drivers to make it work.
Action management were advised about all of this. They were also told that the TWU and drivers were open to any negotiations regarding this matter and that they should come back with shifts and proposals for their perusal so talks could begin.
They never came back.

The agreement required drivers to work a ‘reasonable amount’ of weekend work. this was rorted by drivers. Some have boasted that they have never worked weekends since it came in. ACTION should walk away from this composite wage.

I do agree that a 7 day network is required.

buzz819 buzz819 3:33 pm 09 Apr 12

scorpio63 said :

Ahhh….Buzz…..why not give bus driving a go yourself….and realise just how great it is mixing from all walks of life from some ignorant, rude, naval gazing, patronising public servants to some druggies, alcoholics, people with mental health issues,the disabled, school kids, teenagers, all treated fairly and safely delivered to their destinations by a bus driver treated on many occasions like %$#@ during their careers.

Sure, there are some lovely commuters both regularly and one offs, however what these guys, and for many years, it has been primarily male bus drivers employed by Action, have suffered from the public deserves the utmost respect, acknowledgement and thanks from Canberra residents.

What the public (parents in particular) forget is that these drivers have safely delivered your kids to school and home daily throughout their education and often ‘listen’ to your kids woes cheering them up.

For the knockers it is sheer insecurity and jealousy.

Do yourselves a favour – go and do some training, acquire your MR and HC licences – get out into the real world mixing and assisting the most unfortunate members of society.

Happy Easter!

I’d love to, I can guarantee you that I deal with all those people and a helluvalot more on a daily basis. So no woe is me in that regard.

It’s always the same old story, I had to get a licence, I have to deal with people, I don’t get paid enough, I have to work weekends wah wah wah waaahhh…. You don’t like go become a trolley pusher, or a sandwich maker at Subway, they have the same skills as you guys, you just get paid a hell of a lot more.

You want to deal with those people at the worst of times become an ambo and see what driving in Canberra is like, trying to get somewhere fast but people have no idea what to do with flashing lights behind them, rescuing a junkie, only to have them get up swinging because you saved their lives, then having to put up with blood, spit, shit and piss because people think they should go out and drink EVERYTHING at the bar.

You want some sympathy, how about trying actually giving some customer service to your customers.

SupaSal SupaSal 2:25 pm 09 Apr 12

My brother is a Bus Driver with ACTION with a young family – He generally Drives most public holidays – This year he decided that Spending some time with his young family was more important than Overtime money – I am a car owner but I admit I was glad to be able to spend time with my brother and his family – For once on a Public holiday!!

I suggest that some people need to think of the drivers and the need to spend time with their families at this time of year.

scorpio63 scorpio63 2:07 pm 09 Apr 12

Ahhh….Buzz…..why not give bus driving a go yourself….and realise just how great it is mixing from all walks of life from some ignorant, rude, naval gazing, patronising public servants to some druggies, alcoholics, people with mental health issues,the disabled, school kids, teenagers, all treated fairly and safely delivered to their destinations by a bus driver treated on many occasions like %$#@ during their careers.

Sure, there are some lovely commuters both regularly and one offs, however what these guys, and for many years, it has been primarily male bus drivers employed by Action, have suffered from the public deserves the utmost respect, acknowledgement and thanks from Canberra residents.

What the public (parents in particular) forget is that these drivers have safely delivered your kids to school and home daily throughout their education and often ‘listen’ to your kids woes cheering them up.

For the knockers it is sheer insecurity and jealousy.

Do yourselves a favour – go and do some training, acquire your MR and HC licences – get out into the real world mixing and assisting the most unfortunate members of society.

Happy Easter!

BigDave BigDave 10:40 am 09 Apr 12

Regarding composite rates and weekend work for drivers:
From what I have been told, Action management approached the TWU about bringing in compulsory weekend work. Since the current arrangement, with a composite rate, allows drivers the freedom to pick and choose which ones they want to work, it would require a complete change of the system.
A penalty rate would have to be applied as you are effectively telling people which weekends they are working so changing what they call “ordinary work hours”.
Secondly, they would have to include leave and superannuation entitlements as under the current EBA, weekends are classed as overtime and are not given.
They would also need to incorporate a 6 or 7 day network with a 6 or 7 day roster for drivers to make it work.
Action management were advised about all of this. They were also told that the TWU and drivers were open to any negotiations regarding this matter and that they should come back with shifts and proposals for their perusal so talks could begin.
They never came back.

BigDave BigDave 10:21 am 09 Apr 12

Yes, that’s quite correct. It was a decision by Action Management and the minister to run Public Holiday services on Easter Saturday. The reason being because they got away with it last year when the mechanics went on strike and nobody made any official complaints. Hence, money saved by not running longer services.
Perhaps, instead of writing about it on here, vent your frustrations in an official capacity to the ACT Government. If you don’t, they’ll do it over and over again just because they think no one is bothered…

ML-585 ML-585 1:31 pm 05 Apr 12

Saturday IS a public holiday; Sunday is NOT. That’s how it is and how it always has been. It used to be that ACTION would run a Saturday timetable on Easter Saturday despite it being a Public Holiday, now that is not the case.

From what I’ve heard, it is was the decision of ACTION Management (and/or the Minister) to run the Public Holiday timetable on Easter Saturday. In previous years they have always had enough drivers for the Saturday and there is no reason to believe this would not have been the case this year.

damien haas damien haas 12:09 pm 05 Apr 12

Bussie said :

It was well before I started with ACTION but I’ve heard from several old hands that the introduction of the composite rate of pay and the removal of compulsory weekend work were done several years apart. Both things agreed to by manangement so don’t try and blame the union/drivers for the s***ty weekend buses. If they could force us to work weekends they would but they can’t and don’t and we won’t let them until they offer us something in return so you can whine on the internet all you like.

Yeah, some people whine on the internet anonymously, others get involved and try to effect change in their community. Guess which one I am.

buzz819 buzz819 11:52 am 05 Apr 12

Bussie said :

damien haas said :

Your union accepted a composite rate in a previous agreement. That composite rate covers out of hours work. If you dont want to work weekends, why not roll back the agreement to a non-composite rate and ask for penaty rates outside 9-5 ? I bet you would find the weekend services were suddenly able to be staffed.

Its a massive con by the TWU. They got the payrise by gaining a composite rate, in the EBA yet dont actually want to do the work agreed to. It is no way an act of good faith and smells badly.

If the government had any backbone they would have let the agreement expire, and have you work at award rates. Which would see you get what you want – MO MONEY for working weekends.

It was well before I started with ACTION but I’ve heard from several old hands that the introduction of the composite rate of pay and the removal of compulsory weekend work were done several years apart. Both things agreed to by manangement so don’t try and blame the union/drivers for the s***ty weekend buses. If they could force us to work weekends they would but they can’t and don’t and we won’t let them until they offer us something in return so you can whine on the internet all you like.

Ahh bus drivers… They should start getting paid by how many people they transport throughout the day, like a Taxi driver, imagine how good the service would be then.

davo101 davo101 11:41 am 05 Apr 12

Frustrated said :

davo101 said :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunday_shopping

So what you are saying now is that Sunday is not a public holiday?

Frustrated Frustrated 11:27 am 05 Apr 12

davo101 said :

Frustrated said :

Easter Sunday is most definitely a public holiday, I have not seen any change to this.

Really? To quote Wikipedia {{Citation needed|reason=This claim needs a reliable source; Easter Sunday is not mentioned in the Holidays Act 1958.}}

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunday_shopping

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