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Why bother running buses at all? ACTION reveals Easter services

By 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?

What’s Your opinion?


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Why bother running buses at all? ACTION reveals Easter services
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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 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 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 12:54 pm 10 Apr 12

monorail

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 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 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 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.

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