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10 Percent of Dublin Bus Routes to be Privatised

10 Percent of Dublin Bus Routes to be Privatised – Gary Nolan reports on the Government’s plan to privatize Dublin bus routes

British public transport provider, The Go-Ahead Group has been chosen by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to operate 24 routes in the outer Dublin area. The company say it will operate a fleet of 125 buses and hire 350 drivers.

In a press release, Go-Ahead Chief Executive, David Brown, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the National Transport Authority to deliver a vital service to people living and working in and around Dublin.”

Describing Dublin’s potential, Mr Brown went on to say: “Ireland’s economic growth and planned public transport investments offer an exciting opportunity for us as we execute our strategy of targeted expansion into new markets.”

The Go-Ahead Group was founded in Britain in 1987 after the deregulation of the National Bus Service. It now operates a quarter of London Bus routes and its regional bus services has approximately seven percent of the market. The company will operate rail franchises in Singapore and Germany from next year.

Coincidently, the news comes on the same day that it has also been announced that The Go-Ahead Group have lost their West Midlands rail franchise after 10 years of operation.

Workers’ Party Dublin Councillor Éilis Ryan described the decision to award the contract as “a disastrous decision for workers and commuters alike”. In a press release, Cllr Ryan said Go-Ahead was a “predatory operator whose aim is profit and the destruction of its competitors”.

“For workers, it represents another step in the ‘race to the bottom’ with lower wages, longer hours and worsening conditions. For commuters, it means a cherry-picking of services and very probably falling reliability from a company whose railway division was voted ‘worst rail operator’ in the UK in 2015”.

“This decision has nothing to do with cost or competitiveness. It is a deeply political decision to begin the process of privatisation of public transport in this country. One only has to look at the result of this privatisation in Go-Ahead’s home country, the United Kingdom, to see that this spells very bad news for consumers, taxpayers and workers”.

The Go-Ahead Group received fierce criticism when in 2009, its then chief executive, Keith Ludeman said: “Pensioners cannot be given a blank cheque. It ends up with the perverse result that you reduce mileage on some routes.”

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