Transport plan must lead to greater accountability
Sinn Féin Transport Spokesperson, Raymond McCartney has said that the shake-up in public transport must not lead to unfettered de-regulation and backdoor privatisation that would result the cherry picking of profitable routes to the detriment of other essential routes.
Mr McCartney said:
"The decision to establish a new passenger transport authority must lead to greater accountability. However, there is not enough detail in the announcement to gauge whether this will be the case. While the plans indicate 'greater' involvement from local authorities it is unclear what this will mean in reality. There is no mention of models of governance, accountability and democratic control.
"Sinn Féin have championed the case for strong and effective 'community planning' that puts people at the heart of local government and decision making in our discussions with the British government on the Review of Public Administration. It is essential that this move strengthens this community planning process.
"Given the track record of Direct Rule and the implementation of British Labour policy in Ireland the concern is that what this will lead to privatisation via the back door.
"It is essential that this move does not lead to unfettered de-regulation and backdoor privatisation that would result the cherry picking of profitable routes to the detriment of other essential routes.
"What is also missing from today's announcement is how the provision of public transport will be financed and what are the revenue and budgetary implications for the new Passenger Transport Authority, for central government and for the new councils.
"We also need to see a clear commitment to delivering public transport within an all-Ireland framework is in place from day one, particularly to ensure that the needs of communities living in border regions are fairly looked after." ENDS