Government need to protect public transport – Reilly
Speaking in the Seanad today on the Roads Bill, Sinn Fein Senator
Kathryn Reilly raised the worrying issue of the government plans to privatise
ten per-cent of vital public transport bus routes.
Senator Reilly said:
“The government have so far succeeded in ramming through a privatisation plan which will see private for profit companies attempting to under bid vital public transport companies such as Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus in order to gain access to some of the most prized Public Service Obligation routes in the country.
“Inevitably, such a move would lead to a race to the bottom as the majority of the companies tendering for these routes will be larger multinational companies.
“Such a situation would be detrimental for the people of Ireland because it would force Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus to cut back on other, less profitable, services in order to try and save as many of the routes which are to be opened to bidding.
“This has already resulted in Bus Éireann looking for rural routes it can cut in the event of private companies acquiring public bus routes.
“Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus have done an amazing job to weather the economic crisis and come out the other end with increasing passenger numbers and customer satisfaction. They have done this while retaining decent conditions and pay for their workers. We should be praising these companies; we should be supporting them in expanding their reach not attacking them and seeking to bring in private profit models which have no interest in the needs of our country.
“We must protect Ireland’s connectivity internally and internationally by halting the march of privatisation in Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Aer Lingus.”