– Performance of Go-Ahead services must be assessed before further privatisation occurs –
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport Robert Troy TD has published a new Bill which he will introduce in the Dáil aimed at preventing further privatisation of bus routes.
Deputy Troy made the comments after the National Transport Authority indicated that it intends to put out a competitive tender for an additional 10% of Bus Éireann routes.
This follows on from the NTA’s decision to put out a competitive tender for 10% of Bus Eireann’s PSO routes and Dublin Bus routes in 2013. Private provider Go-Ahead won a portion of these routes, and has only recently commenced operations. In fact, certain routes have yet to be even transferred from the state provider to Go-Ahead, and there are considerable issues yet to be ironed out.
Deputy Troy said, “It makes no sense for the NTA to privatise a whole raft of Bus Éireann routes without knowing the effectiveness of the recent privatisation of routes in Kildare. Go-Ahead has not even begun operating the routes in Kildare, and it has only recently commenced operating the Dublin routes that it is tendered to run. It is simply too early to ascertain whether this has been successful, and it would be simply irresponsible to go further down the road of privatisation before we know what its impacts are.
“I have introduced a new Bill in the Dáil which will prevent further privatisation of bus for five years after contracts were awarded for the first rounds of privatisation. The Bill requires a comprehensive report to be furnished to the Transport Minister before any further privatisation can take place. This report must set out the impact of the Go-Ahead contract on passenger satisfaction and take into account the punctuality, efficiency and reliability of the service.
“The Government must proceed with caution when it comes to privatising bus routes. The process should not be rushed. It is important that we are sure that the current round of privatisation is performing well before we commit to any further changes,” concluded Deputy Troy.