Privatisation of Dublin Bus routes 'the beginning of race to the bottom' TDs warn

Solidarity TDs have re-iterated their call for the reversal of the decision to privatise 10% of Dublin Bus routes suggesting that across Europe the privatisation of bus services have been 'a disaster for passengers and workers'.

The TDs have called for communities and trade unions to campaign together for an increase in investment for public transport.

Paul Murphy TD said: "The selling off of 10% of Dublin Bus routes to Go Ahead, and the prospect of more routes being sold off, will be a disaster for passengers and workers.

"The privatisation of bus services across Europe has resulted in worse service, higher fares and lower wages for drivers. In fact in many countries, governments and local councils are moving to bring bus services back under public or municipal control because privatisation has failed.

Mr Murphy pointed to England as an example of teh rac eto the bottom that will ensue.

"The Thatcher government opened up the bus market for competition in the mid-1980s and privatised the National Bus Company. Rather than offering competition to supposedly provide a better service and keep prices down, three major bus companies have carved the country up into fiefdoms and run the service as they like.

"It has meant that unprofitable services have been run-down and ended because local councils or central government have no control over the routes leaving many people without transport. Passenger numbers have fallen, while the price of fares have sky-rocketed by 156% in the last 20 years. For drivers, wages and working conditions have decreased sharply.

"The same outcome can be expected in Dublin. Already we know that new bus drivers for Go Ahead are on substantially worse terms and conditions than Dublin Bus drivers. This will mean that the private operators will be able to under-cut Dublin Bus on the back of savings they are making by engaging in a race to the bottom for workers."

Ruth Coppinger TD went on to suggest the 'Bus Connects plan' will open the door to further privatisations.

"In its design there is clearly an eye to privatisation which will see Dublin Bus maintain the 'spine routes' which the local services will be packaged up and sold off to private companies.

"In public meetings across the city, alongside the loss of services people from communities clearly see that privatisation is on the agenda and are vigorously opposed to it.

"The opposition to the Bus Connects plan by local communities can be harnessed into a campaign, alongside trade unions if they take action, to fight to reverse privatisation but also importantly for a major increase in public transport services which adds more services and routes rather than cutting routes as proposed in the plan.

"If the government were serious about tackling climate change, instead of Fine Gael's insipid Green Week, they would roll out major investment in public transport."

- Digital Desk

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