Passengers can expect better, safer and more frequent services on Adelaide’s rail network from the end of this month with experienced private operator Keolis Downer taking over running the trains from the 31st of January.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Corey Wingard, has met with the both the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and a representative from a breakaway group of local train drivers, to discuss the upcoming transition and future employment and training opportunities.
During the meetings this week, Minister Wingard made it clear the timeline won’t be shifting and that the current offer on the table for drivers to transfer over to Keolis Downer won’t be changed.
“As it stands a total of 83 drivers have accepted an offer of employment with Keolis Downer and another 88 remaining on the Government payroll will be made available to Keolis Downer to ensure essential public transport services continue to be delivered to the community,” Minister Wingard said.
Drivers who’ve accepted a job with Keolis Downer have secured permanent on-going employment with no loss of terms or conditions, a transfer of all entitlements, free public transport travel, and a $15,000 incentive payment.
They have also secured a commitment of no forced redundancies for the next three years, and the right to transfer to the future operator at the end of KD’s contract.
Late last year a new enterprise agreement was also reached providing a 2 percent per annum pay rise for train drivers and other rail staff.
The RTBU had been pushing for a $65,000 incentive payment and a 4 per cent per annum pay rise over four years despite both nurses and tram drivers accepting a 2 per cent rise just months earlier.
“From next month Keolis Downer will also start delivering training programs for drivers to join the workforce.
“Experienced drivers from other networks will undertake a 22 week program and will be ready to join the workforce in August.
“Further intakes for 33 week-long programs in May and September 2021 and also early in 2022 for new drivers will mean that progressively drivers made available to Keolis for the transition will no longer be required and will be moved into roles elsewhere in government.
“More than 1,000 applications were received by Keolis Downer for train driver positions and it’s clear there’s plenty of people excited and eager to join the sector.
“The Marshall Government was elected to deliver better services and that is why we’re investing in our public transport network – to deliver better and more frequent train services.
“This transition will not only deliver better services but will also mean very significant savings to SA taxpayers. We estimate around $118 million will be saved over 12 years which we can reinvest into other important projects.
“The new Flinders Line has now opened, offering more than 12,000 additional trips per year, including late at night and on weekends.
“We’re all about getting people from A to B faster so they can spend more time with their families and doing what they love. Public transport should be a convenience.
“Keolis Downer has an exceptional track record of running successful public transport systems across Australia and around the world and I look forward to seeing our public transport patronage grow as a result.”