Existing Dublin bus service must be protected as 24 routes are privatised – Munster
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has today raised concerns about the future of our public bus services after the announcement that a British commercial transport company, Go Ahead, will now be running 24 routes previously held by Dublin Bus.
Deputy Munster said:
“I have raised concerns on many occasions about the agenda of the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Minister for Transport Shane Ross regarding privatising public transport routes. This appears to be the first step in that process. 10% of Dublin Bus routes are now being run by a foreign commercial transport agency. There is nothing to stop the NTA from increasing that percentage, or even privatising the entire fleet, as well as Bus Éireann.
“It is clear that private companies have only one interest, and that is in making a profit. Our public transport network is about providing a public service to ensure every citizen has access to appropriate transport in their local area. It is dangerous to shift the focus from service provision to profit-making, given that private operators will have no interest in providing a service on routes that are loss-making.
“We have to ensure that Dublin Bus does not lose out financially as a result of this move. Investment in Dublin Bus must continue, both in Public Service Obligation spend and in capital investment. Private commercial transport companies such as Transdev and Go Ahead are given guarantees of payment by the NTA over fixed term contracts. Dublin Bus does not know what level of capital or current funding it on a multi-year basis leaving the company at a disadvantage, and leaving it in danger of being left short financially as there is no fixed agreement in place.
“It is of the utmost importance that current services are maintained and where necessary, improved. The standard of service provided by Dublin Bus and its employees has been excellent to date, and the NTA must ensure that it is maintained into the future.”