Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bus unions conspire against passengers

Published 01/05/2015 | 02:30

On top of the commercial damage, the planned strikes will also cause needless hardship to the travelling public – the people who pay their wages
On top of the commercial damage, the planned strikes will also cause needless hardship to the travelling public – the people who pay their wages

The only conclusion one can come to over the bank holiday bus strike is that bus workers think we owe them a living and that the bus companies are there to serve the workers not the customers.

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Last Tuesday, Transport Minister for Transport Mr Paschal Donohoe gave an assurance to bus workers that none of them – not a single worker in this State-subsidised company – will lose their jobs as a result of the policy adopted by the National Transport Authority to privatise 10pc of bus routes over the coming years.

For years, various companies operating under the umbrella of the State transport service, CIE, were protected from market realities by State subsidies and a government department which looked after their interests and kept more efficient private operators out of any lucrative routes. They also actively used subsidised pricing structures to make real competition impossible, and when someone else had a good idea they stole it and undercut the private sector. Thankfully, that monopoly has been broken up, and although Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnód Éireann are all State companies, they have begun to adapt to commercial realities. Although services could be improved, they are infinitely better than they were ten or twenty years ago.

Now, their own workers are using sabotage tactics on one of the busiest weekends of the year to take all public bus services off the roads – with the threat of further action in mid-May if they don’t get their way.

On top of this commercial damage, the planned strikes will also cause needless hardship to the travelling public – the people who pay their wages.

It is not as if State bus services are excluded from the privatisation process they are opposing so vehemently – many private operators don’t believe they will be excluded from bidding because they don’t have the financial muscle of the state services.

Finally, it is patently obviously that because there will be no buses today and tomorrow and on further occasions if the unions have their way, that bus lanes should be opened to traffic. People have to go to great lengths to make alternative arrangements to travel into the city cities and they should be facilitated in every way possible.

Irish Independent

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