A REALLOCATION of NSW TrainLink's bus contracts has taken a heavy toll on Wagga-based operators Makeham's Coaches, with the loss of 10 jobs.
Earlier this month, 18 contracts for bus services linking to XPT services around the state were handed out.
From January 1, Makeham's will no longer operate the Canberra to Cootamundra, Griffith to Wagga, Tumbarumba to Wagga and Tumbarumba to Cootamundra services.
Managing director Annette Makeham said the loss of the contracts was a sizeable blow for the company.
Ms Makeham said the 10 people who have lost their jobs represented a third of Makeham's employees, most of whom lived in the Riverina.
Some of the six buses, including reserves, are expected to be sold as the coach business adjusts.
She said the buses were fully equipped with wheelchair access, GPS tracking, CCTV, seatbelts, toilets and could seat up to 41 people.
Wheelchair access can cost up to $50,000 on a bus.
"One of our drivers had been doing the run from Tumbarumba for 12 years, used it twice," she said.
"But in Griffith, it was used once a week (at times), and even had four people in wheelchairs (at once)."
Ms Makeham said the coaches were a significant investment and applying for tenders didn't guarantee work.
"These tenders had to be priced without any (price) rises for eight years," Ms Makeham said.
She said when Makeham's began providing the services fuel was $1.13 per litre and is now $1.62.
"I just hope the general public get the same service or better," she said.
Despite losing the contracts, Ms Makeham said there were "no hard feelings".
Makeham's Coaches will continue to operate eight school runs and provide coach charters to Western Australia, Tasmania, Phillip Island and Uluru as well as events such as the Rocky Horror Show and a Neil Diamond tour in 2015.
A NSW Transport spokeswoman said customers were the big winners from new NSW TrainLink coach contracts.
"NSW TrainLink went through an open tender process and everyone had the opportunity to bid for contracts," she said.
"The goal was to get the best operators and the best outcome for customers and this process was overseen by an independent probity advisor."
Melbourne-based company Dysons Bus Charter will operate the Griffith and Tumbarumba to Wagga services, while Deniliquin's Purtills will operate the Echuca to Wagga route.
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