Importance of public transport network surpasses profit making – Imelda Munster TD
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Munster asked Minister Ross if he is willing to facilitate talks between his department, Bus Éireann, the NTA and unions. Deputy Munster also expressed grave concerns about the potential privatisation of the Expressway service, a commercial subsidiary of Bus Éireann, given media reports regarding its future this morning.
Minister Ross insisted that media reports about the potential slashing of services were incorrect, though he did not rule out that this method of cost-cutting was being considered. He also said that privatisation of the service was not discussed at yesterday’s cabinet meeting."
“Public transport is in a state of crisis. We have had Luas workers and Dublin bus workers on strike, the very troubling rail review of the NTA and now this latest catastrophe in Bus Éireann.
“Public transport is the most effective way to reduce traffic congestion, link rural communities, improve local as well as larger economies and it also has a part to play in protecting the environment. By its very nature it is not always going to produce a profit. Its importance transgresses profit.
“I have concerns that you are planning to eventually privatise parts of the public transport network, and the Expressway service is looking particularly vulnerable at present. We also need to consider the needs of workers in all this. What we need is for subvention levels to increase to reverse 8 years of under investment, and ensure that we provide a first class public transport service.
“Minister Ross did not give a commitment to support my suggestion of engagement with all stakeholders to find a resolution and save our public transport network. He needs to do this if he is in any way sincere about protecting, preserving and enhancing our public transport system”.