A large number of Contractors have complained of the rounding down of the travelled kilometers (and rightly so). I have saved a screen capture of the Government Buses website and it clearly states in the section that I have circled that:
“You need to count every section that you travel in, whether you are travelling the whole section or only part of it.”
So if you travel on the bus for 2.2 sections in the morning, you have to pay for 3 sections. If you travel on the bus in the afternoon for 2.2 sections you have to pay for 3 sections. A total for the day of 6 sections. You cannot go past a section (between sections) and tell the driver you are only going to pay to the section before.
With our runs a section is one kilometer, therefore if you travel for example 35.2 kilometers in the morning, you would calculate that at 36 kilometers (36 Sections). If you travel in the afternoom 35.2 kilometers, you would calculate that at 36 kilometers (36 Sections) giving you a total for the day of 72 kilometers.
The ASTP have been rounding down to 35 kilometers (actualy, they have been adding the first run and the second run kilometers together and then round the total down, only if the number is 5 or above do they round it up).
If for example you travelled 35.3 in the morning and 35.3 in the afternoon, the total for the day would be 70.6 kilometers.
ASTP (NSW Government) would pay 71 kilometers, Sydney Busses (NSW Government) would charge you 72 kilometers. In this case it is only one kilometer, but that would equal 196 kilometers over the school year and if it was the above senario of 35.2 am and 35.2 pm (total rounded up 72 kilometers) ASTP would only pay 70 kilometers that is two kilometers or 392 kilometers over the school year.
This happening accros the board with all contractors, evan at just $2.00 (Sedan rate, NO ATSO) for one kilometer per day, per run, would be $784.00 and $1,254,400.00 minimum per year over all runs.
Over a Million Dollars skimmed off the contractors accounts.
Staff at ASTP has said “That if we rounded the kilometers up we wouldn’t be paying the correct kilometers”. Hmm makes you think, if you rounded down the kilometers, would you still NOT be paying the correct kilometers? So wouldn’t then if you travelled that 200 meters more, you would be in Breach of Contract or would we not be ostracized if we dropped the children 200 meters short of the school?
Screen Capture from Website
Link to Web Page: http://www.sydneybusses.info/calculating-sections
I have been providing transport to handicapped children for more than 30 years. I have enjoyed the work but over the last few years I have noticed that the pay rates have not kept pace with the growing costs, especially for short runs. Apparently a lot of other contractors shared my view and the situation came to a head early this year when many operators rightly refused to take on these commercially non viable runs. With “a pistol at its head” the department has produced new rates for each vehicle category which included fixed minimum charges These rates were at least commercially viable and I accepted them. However there seems to be a “sting in the tail”. In the past the pay rates were based on the seating capacity of the vehicle and it was the responsibility of the department to assign runs in an efficient way. However, a week ago I was informed that this will no longer be the case and the pay rate will be determined by the number of students carried on the run. In my case I have a purchased a “people mover” for this work.It can carry six but the department has arranged a run with only four students and assigned a lower pay rate based on the capacity of a sedan.I was dismayed. This new proposal was not mentioned in any of the contract documents and a bit of arithmetic showed that the rate was barely viable on my run. When I rang the department about this it was suggested to me that I should use a sedan instead of the wagon to reduce costs. This sounds like a good idea except for the fact that I do not know how many students will be on my run until the start of each school year (and sometimes well after this). Such a problem might not inconvenience a large operator with a number of runs and vehicles but is serious for me with a single run.If I used a vehicle with a capacity of only four and a run turned out to need five or more spaces I could not do it. For this reason I am using the wagon despite the higher cost to me when it is used for private transport.
Despite the fact that I enjoy the work I do and feel that it helps those in need I am now seriously considering weather to continue to do it.
So what’s with these category changes? My people mover is paid at a sedan. I am about to sell people mover but what happens if they ring with an extra student? Am I then expected to buy a new car or do I lose my run? I can’t afford to keep both. This is just too much. Doesn’t anybody there know how to read a contract.
Inaccuracies in TSO Pay calculations
I am a TSO and had escalated my problem with the calculation of my pay – which never precisely matched what I calculated I was due.
I did get a prompt and complete response from the ASTU which advised my pay is rounded (up or down) per day to the nearest 15 minutes.
I assume TSO pays are not yet automated but calculated manually.
I would encourage Contractors and TSOs to have a look at this; and check your E-Mail for more details.
Well I purchased a 2006 Commuter wheelchair access, as the one I have had for 16 years finely kicked the bucket shame it didn’t last a couple of more months till i see how the revised rates work out,so as of now i will be running at a $35 a day loss as I had to take the gamble and purchasing another vehicle, well lets see if I will be returning my low Km run next term and selling the new commuter.
When keying the Km from the Claim Form, decimal point parts of Km driven have been ignored. I.e. if you drive 45.4 km, the Dept will enter 45 km – you’re driving the 0.4 for free. Does the NSW government require our charity?
Its a very strange system of runs allocation. Allocation officer will ring an operator offering to him or her a run over the phone ?????
why the department doesn’t put all the runs on web site for all the operators to see and choose a run that is suitable to the operator and the children … and should be some rule for every long run an operator went to do, there should a short run attached to the long run ????
That is much fairer system
This is for all TSOs who may have wondered why their fortnightly pay doesn’t quite match their own calculation.
I queried my payments with senior management of the ASTU and was advised the calculations are rounded (up and down) to the NEAREST quarter hour.
I’m thinking that TSOs pay is not yet automated or it would precisely match the hours and minutes that we report on our Claim forms.
Fair Pay and the Support and Respect for the Work that we do and Provide.
• It would seem from the everything that has been going on, the department has not taken into account that these children are not normal children and that the transport of these special needs children is carried out during the most dangerous period of time to drive on the roads (Peak Hour).
• At the end of the day I would say the majority of the contractors are just asking that the department and government just give us a fair pay and the support and respect for the work that we do and provide.
Vehicle Category Changes……What are you Looking at ?!!!!!!!!
Some contractors have been told that the pay rate has been worked out on number of children, example if you had a People Mover with only three children then you would be payed Car Rate not People Mover as the amount of children could be in a car.
When we were asked to tender we had to state what type of vehicle we were tendering with i.e. Car, People Mover, Mini Bus, Maxi Bus or Wheel Chair Vehicle and the department sent out in October 2011 “ TAB B Daily Run Rates” out lining the rate that the department would pay per km for each class of vehicle tendered. Nowhere in the contractual papers or the “ TAB B Daily Run Rates” paper work does it mention anywhere about payment by the number of children in the vehicle.
A Central Controller
Being a new operator for the Department I found the biggest problem COMMUNICATION with the Department. Every time you ring with any problem a different person will answer the phone, this IS a problem. Why the Department doesn’t put one person in charge, let say 20 operators???? and for those operators, they contact this person all the time with any problems.
Lack of Communication from the Department
• Throughout this contractual process there has been little or no communication from the Department to the contractors with regards to changes that they make or inquiries that the contractors write, email or ring the department with regards to the changes to their contracts, runs, or pays.
The Latest Conditions and Process with the Contracts
• The latest conditions and process with the contracts and runs would have to be the worst that I have experienced with the department in those 23 years.
We were sent out contract documents over twelve months ago and asked to submit our tendered price, but this has been made difficult to come up with, as the department has been continually sending out amendments and additional procedures to the original documents.
Payments being Wrongly Calculated
• Myself and a number of other contractors have only just been paid this week for the work that we carried out in February and then the payment is wrong or short.
When you take the run km’s traveled each day and relate that to the $ amount shown on the table “ TAB B Daily Run Rates” that the department sent out in October 2011 it comes up with more than the amount paid.
• Early this week I emailed two different people within the department about the short fall in my pay and to-date I have not received a reply to my query of how they came up with their figure.
Really annoyed with no answer from the education department.Placed an urgent call on Monday afternoon, Had a very distressed child in the bus,no parent at home to collect her. Sent several calls and messages to mother with no answer.Also calls to the answering machine at the education department.After 50 minutes the mother finally contacted me.We are not paid babysitters so what are we to do!!!!!!!!
As a long term contractor I learnt today when querying the underpayment that I am expected to pick up the student who is furthest away even when I drive past the 2nd student’s house en-route.
Accordingly my KM’s drop down into the lower rate category.
Nice one Dept. of Education!
They never miss an opportunity.
Who do we turn to when our Government rips us off?
I have put in my invoice for Assisted School Travel, but just like the tender process, the payments for delivering kids to school is completely different than the amount of the invoice.
I am wondering if I have wasted my time filling out an invoice and calculating rates etc. just as I wasted my time calculating a rate for the tender process.
I am a little befuddled. Does anyone know if the rates per kilometer have changed from the figures we were given last month?
Can someone please let me know when The Dept started changing categories for vehicles I’m now being told that a 6 seater which when the tender was submitted was a people mover now they say its a sedan…Also does it change if you only have 3 children in the vehicle even if its a people mover you drive..Thanks
I always liked the job,but, and a big but !!
with the new contract and rates and the
COMPLETE disregard for our tendering (which was a waste of our time effort and paper)
i have second thoughts wether i can maintain positive vibes you need to do this job for the next year/S.
The children we” handle” ,dispite all their
disabilities are very aware if you are not happy and willing to deal with them.
They need a positive start for the day
for to them you are familie !!
and you are mum &dad when school’s out.
You drop them home ,and mum is very sorry that jonny pissed in your bus,or donna vomited.
We dont deliver parcels or meat pies !!
Has any contractor out there in NSW been paid for the work they have done since January. Is any one aware that the departments computer system can not process this new pay system and THERE IS NO BACK UP PLAN.
I have been working as an escort or TSO as they now call it for 15 yrs. I am being paid $13.00 per hour.
As far as I know this is way below the minimum rate.
I have 5 students with behavior problems. The teachers have about 6 students in one class and have an assistant.
I have no voice and cannot stop work because my husband is contractor for this run. I cannot find a replacement. No one wants to work for $13 per hour.
I have done the right thing and kept my car updated yet all I see now are old bombs driving these kids, yet they are paid the same as I am, and what about the safety of these children? If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
I have 2 runs that are losing me money every day. I told the department this, yet 3 weeks later and nothing has been added to make the runs viable. I have helped them out when they were desperate yet still they don’t care. I will now have to hand the runs back at the end of the month.
While the report said they were going to review the rates for Term 2, I’m not sure they won’t just throw a few extra bucks our way and then think the problem is solved. They can’t just give this a ‘band aid’. It is broken – Completely. It needs repairing from the ground up – Or in this case – the top down. They can tell the media all the fibs they feel necessary to ‘whitewash’ the whole fiasco, but they have a duty of care toward, not just the children and parents, but also to the operators. They have snowballed us for long enough. If the public really knew the illegal nature in which this department treats the front line workers of this program, they would be horrified.
When we asked for a rate increase, 10 years into the first tender, we were told that under the tender act, the department can’t change the rates from what we originally tendered, yet with the new tender, THEY are able to change the rates WE tendered.
Because they needed to allocate runs quickly for the remaining kids to be transported, they have given them back to non compliant operators, creating unequal allocations. What happens to those not given an option to have a run after the rates were raised? All are paid the same rates yet some have 20, 30 or 40 runs while others have none. Under the tender contract, how is this fair? They are going to revise the rates for term 2 but that does not help the ones who had no choice but to hand back their runs. We now have nothing, yet have suffered financially for just as long as everyone else while waiting for this new tender. How can that now be fixed?
I want to know how an operator, who accepts a run that had been handed back as not viable, can manage to do that same run. We all know what they will be paid yet we also know the costs involved. Is there some under the table payments going on or do they just get shonky operators?
The ‘break even’ amount for expenses alone, for an average car doing an average run is $155 or 40 klms. Anyone earning less is losing money – whether they know it or not. My personal grievance is that for 10 years, this government department knowingly paid for a service at sub standard rates. Simply because someone ignorantly or desperately accepts those rates, does not make it right. This is why there are work places standards set in Australia, to outlaw companies who do this. When a government department puts itself above the law, then what hope is there?
Why is a car good for use one day and not the next.I have seen better 15 year old vehicles than some of the newer ones
This pay rate offer is insulting to all, but especially to those who have had to suffer the last 10 years on already too low a rate while waiting for the department to bring out a new Request for Tender, FIVE YEARS after the last one expired. I was told by an employee that we shouldn’t expect to be paid much because “it’s only meant to be a casual job”. Hello – its a job, not a charity.
I am a driver for a contractor and have been driving at a low rate of pay as a favour while waiting for these new rates to start. I have been told by my employer of the unexpected outcome and how I won’t have a job next year. While it’s not his fault, I am upset because I had been offered other part time work which I turned down.
I would like to know who set the schedule of rates. I was under the impression at the meeting that we were to be assessed against an industry benchmark. I have since spoken to a company in the industry and was told the department rates are way below any industry benchmark.
To save me the added expense of replacing the engine in my car for just the extended 6 months, I thought I should update early in preparation for what I submitted in my RFT. I had no reason to believe the rates would be less now than what they were 12 years ago. Now I have an updated work car but no job because in my area the kilometers are much less than the median.
My run is in a congested area and due to the hour and a half time limit and now with no minimum rate, it will be impossible for me to get enough kilometers to cover my costs
I have a run where I need to also go out in the middle of the day. I get half my minimum daily rate for this but now I’m not sure if I can be made to do this part of the run. It’s not worth being paid just for the few loaded kilometers because of all the necessary unpaid kilometers. Will I need to refuse the whole run?
I had no idea that we would be offered set rates otherwise I would never have bothered even tendering. The meeting I attended never mentioned this as a possibility. In fact, when a couple of people suggested this method, it was almost scoffed at. What a waste of time. A few years ago I accepted extra runs which have barely covered costs. I held on to them waiting for the RFT. Now I am in debt for these 2 new vehicles with no way to earn enough for their monthly payments.
I have multiple runs where I have sub contractors but was to change this to all employees and so filled out my RFT this way. Now I have a situation where I can’t afford to pay them employee rates and yet even if I were to have this changed by getting their financials checked by an accountant and applying for them to be contractors, according to Fair Work practices I am not allowed to pay them anything less than I would have to pay if they were employees. This makes me uneasy as I could find myself in trouble with the ATO if I offer them less to keep working.
I manage eight runs which is sometimes a nightmare when drivers are away or cars breakdown. Some of these runs will not have anything left to pay me for my time in organizing and will have to hand back 7 of them. Because I had no choice but to sign the agreement form sent so as to remain on the list, I am concerned that when I refuse the runs that I can no longer manage, will I then lose the one I want, or if not, will they make me still do all the others at a loss while I give the required 2 weeks notice.
I have only one run and luckily it has high kilometers so I will be paid enough to cover costs and make a small wage. I’m worried about the days when my furthest child is away though (often for weeks at a time) because then my kilometers would barely cover the fuel let alone the car payment.
I have 4 runs that mostly I just on pay to my sub contractors who have been working at a rate lower than the legislation for me so as to hold the runs until the new rates started. There is only a small amount left after this so I have had to find a full time job to make ends meet. It is of no benefit to me to have the added pressure of this business if there will be nothing left for even a small profit for myself. Most of my drivers are continuing until the end of the year as a favour, but if they find another job I will need to find drivers to replace them for just the few weeks left.
I only need a small income as I mainly work to help with the payments on my family car so the new rates are OK for me. The department have always done as they want anyway so there’s no use complaining.
I have only one run that I drive myself so don’t need to cover wages but due to where I live, I have a huge amount of unpaid kilometers and without a minimum daily rate my extra travel expenses won’t be covered. I am looking for another job in the middle of the day in the area of my school but it’s been hard to find a job with those hours so I will most likely have to hand back this run.
I only have one run and providing the kilometers stay the same, the rates are fine as it will cover my costs and pay me a small wage which is all I want. I like the set rates as at least everyone is now being paid the same amount, unlike the last 10 years when mine were lower than most other people. Although, when I worked out my prices to tender it made me realize that after my costs, I have only been making $10 a day, so the new rates for me are better. I am a bit concerned that I won’t get paid a minimum daily rate though, because when some of the students on my run are away my kilometers and pay will drop to almost nothing. I think there should at least be a minimum for everyone. We have always had a minimum rate from when I started over 20 years ago so I don’t think it’s fair now.
I have been driving for the the ASTP for many years and have over 10 runs now. I had to fill out a lot of paperwork in the RFT because of the amount of runs. It was a lot of work to do plus a large amount I had to pay an accountant to verify my ability to maintain them. Now with the set rates, I will barely earn enough to be able to pay my sub contractors enough to cover their costs. This will leave me with a lot of paperwork with my BAS and Tax yet there will be not enough to even pay me a small amount for my time and effort so it is not worth me keeping more than one run.
I have 3 runs, and depending on what kilometers are offered, may be able to continue with one if I drive myself but the other ones I can’t keep as I won’t be able to afford to pay my drivers. They have been driving for me for many years and are devastated. They also depend on this income. I thought with the new rates I tendered, I would now be able to pay them the legislation rates but now I won’t be paid enough to even continue paying them what I have been. I have already sent my Work Cover estimation for these wages and have to pay over $1000 for the cover and it can’t get refunded until next year so I am even more out of pocket. Also, I still have to keep paying off the cars.
I have a run that changes daily, some days down to just one child. I am expected to have a vehicle and driver at their disposal yet they are offering rates that will barley cover the fuel, let alone the monthly car payments and annual expenses necessary to keep this car available.