'Fisticuffs' driven by bus congestion

HILLS bus driver Dave Pola has called on Transport for NSW and the government to intervene to help curb traffic congestion around Parramatta's Station Street bus layover facility.

Mr Pola, 52, was one of the drivers at a Transport Workers Union strike at Parramatta Bus Interchange last week.

He said the layover is the site of daily incidents ranging from minor prangs and broken bus mirrors to "fisticuffs" between frustrated drivers queuing for a rank during meal breaks.

"There's 10 spots for 10 buses to officially park and up to 30 drivers queuing for those spots," Mr Pola said.

"The government's put in extra bus services, which is great, but they haven't allowed for the infrastructure to accommodate them.

"It's like we've got a one litre jug and they've tried to put two litres into it — it just overflows."

Mr Pola said an agreement between two bus companies to mitigate congestion by sending drivers elsewhere for lunch broke down after a third company continued to use the facility.

"It's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt," he said.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said activities such as "where drivers take breaks" are managed by bus operators but that TfNSW recognises congestion is an issue at the Parramatta Interchange and is looking at long-term solutions.

"As an interim measure, Transport for NSW has asked bus operators using the Parramatta Interchange to schedule driver rest and meal breaks at locations," he said.

"Transport for NSW has worked with Parramatta Council and bus operators to provide extra bus layover spaces on Pitt and Argyle streets, and make full use of the existing Market Street layover, which is currently not used to capacity."

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