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Report exposes Brennan's transport lunacy

20 May, 2004

Responding to reports that the privatisation of bus services in Ireland could cost Bus Eireann an additional €24million Sinn Féin EU candidate for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald described it as "another in a series of reports confirming that the Minister‚s plans for privatising public transport are nothing short of lunacy." Ms McDonald pointed to the failure of the transport models across Europe that Minister Brennan is considering and expressed the hope that the report would cause a Œrethink in Government policy.‚

Ms McDonald said: "This is another report that confirms the Minster‚s plans for privatising public transport are nothing short of lunacy. He is shamelessly pursuing the interests of transnational public transport operators by opening up the Irish transport market with no more than a hunch to go on. Private companies will put profit before the people time and time again. This has been proven across Europe.

"But the issue here is not one of competition, but of control. In the place of publically accountable CIE and the small number of private operators we will increasingly have what the report calls "a cartel/oligopoly market structure which cannot be reasonably considered as an improvement on what exists".

"Since Dublin Bus will lose 25% of its routes to private operators under a scheme based on the discredited deregulation in Britain it stands to suffer the most from Minister‚s Brennan‚s incoherent transport policy. Franchising and deregulation in Britain led to a massive 16% decline in passenger bus numbers, fare increases amounting to 23% (35% in London) and a deteriorating service. The only exception to falling passenger numbers was in London, and this was solely as a result of doubling the Government‚s transport grant to London.

"In Copenhagen, another transport model advocated by the Minister who clearly cannot make up his mind, costs have risen, passenger carryings have fallen, reliability of services has declined and the Greater Copenhagen Authority is unable to control the three transnational corporations operating in the market.

"The report today exposes again the shambles that is Minister Brennan‚s transport proposals. His Government was obliged to climbdown on the issue of electronic voting when an independent report proved the system would not work. Hopefully this report will cause a similar rethink in Government policy." ENDS

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