Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has condemned the government’s plan to privatise a portion of Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus routes. He made his comments as the Oireachtas Committee on Transport prepares to meet to discuss the proposal.
Ellis, a member of the committee, described the plan as a clear case of private profit being prioritised over public good and a cowardly act by any government.
“Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus are essential companies for the state. They provide invaluable service to communities across the capital and the state. While both companies have struggled to make ends meet over recent years due to the decrease in commuter numbers they have in the past been profitable and with sufficient support and good management they can be again. They are worth considerably more to the public than the funding provided by the state.
“Since coming into office this government has shown open contempt for the idea of public transport. They have dedicated themselves to cutting funding, hiking fares, slashing routes and talking down the workers in these companies while stirring unrest. This plan which will allow private operators to cherry pick profitable routes and further undermine public transport is just the latest in a long line of policies aimed and making Fine Gael's case for privatisation.
“The reality is that privatisation of public transport has shown to be a failed policy time and time again. It almost invariably leads to higher fares, worse conditions and less access. Even in the case of London where a form of Local Authority managed privatisation was put in place with a degree of success public funds are still required and in greater proportions than in the case of Dublin Bus.
“This is either a cowardly act by this government who do not want to take on the task of providing real quality public transport or it is an underhanded act intended to prepare these companies for sell off or dissolution.”