Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has today attacked the government for moving ahead with plans to open up ten per cent of public bus routes to the market.
Speaking in Dublin today Ms Boylan said:
“Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann provide vital transport links for citizens around the city and country. Privatisation will inevitably lead to some of the non-profitable routes being discontinued and some areas being deprived of essential transport services.
“The fact that the government is forging ahead with these plans despite vehement opposition from unions representing transport workers, demonstrates its indifference to those who depend on the Dublin Bus service to get to the shops, to school, college and work.
The privatisation of public bus services will ultimately lead to higher bus fares and poorer working conditions. The Irish Government in its arrogance has refused to learn lessons from mistakes made abroad on this issue.
For example when the Tory government privatised services in the UK. At the time it claimed that privatisation would lead to greater investment, improved services and fare reductions.
The biggest losers were those who worked in the bus industry. Bus driver’s hourly wage ranked 7% above the average blue collar worker but within ten years of privatisation had fallen 14% below.
Passengers also lost out, as fares have risen consistently above inflation.
Many other right- wing governments have attempted privatisation policies in this industry and have failed. The cherry-picking of the most profitable routes by private operators and the financial burden of subsidising the less lucrative routes inevitably leads to a reversal of privatisation policies.
The government should re-think its stance on this issue now before it will have to make another embarrassing policy U-turn.”