Archive for April, 2012

Holiday Over Already?

I hope you all had a good holiday. Unfortunately I blinked and missed it.

Ok, so we all signed the acceptance forms for the new rates to begin in May and of course there was the added condition of signing to make sure we all continued our runs come the first day of the second term. Were we really going to not start back? After all, it was only a fair deal we wanted in the first place so why would we not return and take advantage of the extra bit of money that will “come what May”? Ok, so excuse my attempt at a joke.

Was anyone else as confused as I was today? What day was it? Off Monday, work Tuesday, off Wednesday, work Thursday and Friday. Trying to explain that to the little ones was hard. Coming back after more than two weeks away, all eagerly anticipating the daily ritual of school only to find out that I wasn’t going to be taking them the next day, then again after 2 days it was holiday time again. Poor kids. Perhaps though – poor parents.

Anyway, back into the swing now. New kids added (or removed), addresses to find, times to re schedule, calls and texts to the parents, negotiating the traffic conditions and oh goody my favorite, setting alarms. And come Monday, the pay claim forms to sign, writers cramp coming up.

There will be no special treats for me this month though with the big 8 day pay. Oh well, maybe in June I can take hubby for a nice meal somewhere to celebrate my small windfall. Or not.

I attended the association meeting today at Hornsby RSL club, who seemed to enjoy the arrival of unexpected Saturday afternoon business. Worth the long trip, except I rarely drive that far for my holiday. There were many there from the Central Coast and Newcastle areas who probably thought the same. Surprisingly, my trip along the M7 was great, driving at a hundred clicks all the way. But then there was the dreaded Pennant Hills Rd to battle, and true to form, it was a nightmare. No wonder I have always preferred the south coast beaches to visit. Not for the sand and surf so much as the ease of the trip to get there. Fortunately I had a talkative passenger with me who filled the time.

The meeting went well and it was nice to be in the same place as other contractors all discussing the same problems. It made me feel less alone I suppose, and knowing that many are working on finding solutions was comforting.

I noticed the Site Team have included a Fun Page, ah, just what I need. And site members are nearing 70. My bet is a 100 by 3rd Term. Off to socialize, bye for now.




“I have had a holiday, and I’d like to take it up professionally.” – Kylie Minogue


A few weeks ago I was handed some medical information about some students on my run. I was told it was a request from the department that this information be handed to drivers. Wow! Finally. I have often thought it crazy that the privacy act, or what ever it was in the past that prevented us having this crucial information, was wrong. There could be situations where it is critical that we are aware of certain medical conditions with the students in our care, and most parents, who have already filled out this information, naturally believe as drivers, we already have it. This is a good move from the department.

Speaking of Medical, if you haven’t already done so, due tomorrow is the medical assessment certificate. It was a blessing that we were given an extension until the 13th of April because there were many other problems that we needed to overcome in those first 6 weeks of term 1. We did not need the added stress of this obligation. Well that was the good part. The problem we may find now, is the probability that many contractors may now have a very high blood pressure reading on their certificates because of all the recent stress due to many having been incorrectly paid. Oh Dear. I think I might go to a day spa preceding my doctors appointment.

Did you all enjoy your Easter? What lovely weather it was. I had that “first day feeling” on Good Friday. That feeling that comes with the anticipation of a whole 2 weeks of not worrying about traffic and time schedules and the likes. Of course by today, realizing almost a week has gone by, that extra happy feeling is subsiding. Soon it will be replaced with that mixed emotion of wanting to still be at home yet needing to earn money.

So much has been happening. The new pay rates being released and the continuing work being done on the business rules and the TSO pay rates, not to mention the formation of an association. This will be a huge benefit to contractors, especially those having their vehicle categories downsized. I have been told this is one of the first things that the association want to address. Hopefully they will get to the bottom of how this has come about. After all, many operators are still trying to find the pertinent clause in the contract on this while in the mean time suffering financial hardship while it is being sorted.




“Physicians and politicians resemble one another in this respect, that some defend the constitution and others destroy it.” ~Author Unknown


Opening my email tonight to view the new rates, I experienced a quick flash back to October last year, when I viewed the new Schedule of Pay Rates. Immediately I had panicked with that sentence, “the department has decided to issue a standard schedule of pay rates”. Department/Pay rates, Department/pay rates? No, this was not going to be good. And it wasn’t.

This time however, I felt differently, I knew these figures could only be higher than the first schedule so I excitedly viewed them, and, as I expect every contractor would have done, went straight to their own applicable rate. There it was, a figure I could work with. This makes all the difference to me, since I had only held on up until now to make my decision whether to keep my run or hand it back.

Of course, having a run with minimal kilometres, I certainly won’t be rich, but at least, unlike last term, I will not need to supplement the run using my own money. At least now I will earn enough to pay my car payments, fuel costs and pay a driver. To make enough for a little profit for my efforts though, I will desperately be hoping to be given a student who brings with it more kilometres. I won’t deny that I am not envious of those who are lucky enough to score a high Kilometre run, it is just the nature of the business I suppose. Pot Luck, and so I need to take the gamble. At least those small runs have now become viable.

What really makes me feel better about this new set of rates is in the way it came about. Regardless of contractors opinion of the rates, you can’t deny that the whole procedure was thoroughly researched with our interests in mind, yet still in keeping with the “Value for Money” policy of government tendering. Mainly though, for me, it’s the respect finally shown to us for our efforts. I feel Valued.

I would like the thank all those people involved in implementing the Ken Boston recommendations, especially given the short time frame. Mr Chris Raper, the team from PricewaterhouseCooper and those people who attended the Focus group meetings who voiced their concerns on behalf of all contractors.




“Respect for right conduct is felt by every body.” – Jane Austen