Irish News

Thursday 10 July 2014

Vivienne Jupp: More rises on the way to bridge financial gap

Vivienne Jupp

Published 17/11/2012|05:00

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Fewer people working and travelling, major cuts in what is already one of the lowest public transport subsidies in Europe, and soaring fuel costs have resulted in a perfect storm.

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We know customers are struggling with the cost of living, but we have made efforts to reduce our own costs.

Costs have been cut by €175m over the last three years, but it hasn't bridged the financial gap between what we spend and what we take in.

To protect services we need to keep cutting costs, but we must also raise additional revenue through fares, particularly as state funding will fall again next year.

That bus and rail services have been largely maintained and in many cases strengthened, while our workforce has reduced by 1,450 in three years, is testament to the commitment of our employees and management.

Encouragingly, passenger numbers are showing signs of stabilisation and growth again.

Real Time Passenger Information for bus services; free WiFi on trains and buses, and the Leap Card are improving the quality of service.

These headline fare increases do not reflect that many customers are paying less than ever, through online sales, Leap Card and Taxsaver commuter tickets.

We will take other actions to achieve stability including selling assets and making further savings. But we must be honest with customers – there may be a need for further fare increases in the years ahead.

Any external economic shocks, be they domestic or international, would have a serious effect on the group's financial position.

Irish Independent

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