Thursday 19 September 2019

Fianna Fáil tells government to 'get real' on transport

Bus Eireann
Bus Eireann
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Fianna Fáil has called on the government to halt the privatisation of public transport routes for five years until a full assessment of how bus links would be hit can be carried out.

It comes after the National Transport Authority proposed that up to 10pc of routes currently operated by Bus Éireann be put out to tender.

The party’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy said any move to privatise public transport routes in the coming years would be premature.

He said further investment in transport should be prioritised.

Four more bus routes previously operated by Dublin Bus were switched to Go-Ahead Ireland last Sunday after the UK company took up the running of other routes last September.

Mr Troy said the Go-Ahead routes must be fully assessed before further privatisation can be explored.

“We think it is premature,” he said.

“The NTA gave a directive to privatise 10pc of [Dublin Bus] routes a number of years ago but that only came in to effect in September of this year, so we have no idea in terms of an in depth analysis of how these routes are working in terms of value for money for the taxpayer, customer service and punctuality.

“What we want to see effectively is a pause button pressed and no further privatisation of additional routes for five years until we get a full picture.”

Mr Troy also called on the government to invest in public transport, saying improved transport links can help address the housing crisis.

“What we would also like to see the government do is get real about public transport and have a significant investment in public transport,” said Mr Troy.

“What we have at the moment is one of the worst housing crisis ever and part of the fix to that is greater investment in public transport, not privatising off some of our best routes.”

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