Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has sharply critised plans to privatise over 20 routes currently operated by Dublin Bus as well as some Bus Éireann services. The National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed that the privatisation of the routes will proceed by 2016. A number of Wicklow routes are included in the plans.
Speaking after the announcement Councillor Brady said “What we have seen over the last few years is the slow death of public transport in Ireland. Government subsidies have been continuously cut under the previous government of Fianna Fáil and now under Labour and Fine Gael. The announcement that up to 20 Dublin Bus routes are to be privatised will however be the final nail in the coffin for public transport”.
“The decision was made following a consultation process which discussed the principle of direct award contracts. Under these plans Wicklow will be particularly affected with Dublin Bus routes 45a, 184, 185 all planned for privatisation. Thatcher's privatisation of public transport in the 1980s has been a disaster for transport workers and the public, unfortunately that's exactly where this government want us to go”.
Cllr Brady continued “The privatisation of public transport will result in massive fare hikes and a deteriorating service. Public transport is a service which belongs to the people as a right. The notion that it should be run on the basis of profit is a dangerous one which will leave individuals and communities isolated. Experience has shown that once public transport is privatised the logic of profit overrides all other considerations. What this will mean is a reduction in services for areas that cannot provide a frequency of use suitable to the companies need for profit. In practical terms people will be left standing at the bus stop until the company is sure it can fill a bus. They will regard it as inefficient to run a bus at anything less than full capacity”.
Cllr Brady concluded “The NTA can only proceed with the approval of the Labour Party and Fine Gael. These plans are illogical unless you see it in ideological terms where both parties in Government see privatisation in terms of ideology. It is an ideology that disregards the rights of the marginalized and the elderly but let’s face it this is a Government that has shown scant regard for those sections of society. Sinn Féin have a proven track record of fighting to save public transport and we will also fight to stop the privatisation of our public transport and that includes the 45a, 184, 185 that are planned to be privatised by 2016”