Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, says the privatisation of Dublin Bus services has been a disaster for commuters.
Teachta O’Rourke’s comments came as Go-Ahead Ireland appeared at the Oireachtas Transport Committee today to answer for the huge level of complaints in relation to the service they are providing.
The Meath East TD said:
“The standard of the bus service being provided by Go-Ahead Ireland is appalling.
“The NTA has fined the company €850,000 in the first six months of the year due to cancelled and late services. This amounts to an eight-fold increase in fines compared to previous years.
“While challenges are not unique to Go-Ahead Ireland, they are most pronounced with that company. Sinn Féin previously warned the privatisation of our bus services would drive down standards, as profits would be prioritised over punctuality, reliability and customer service.
“Worsening standards in this sector are driving people away from using public transport, at a time when we need to be increasing numbers significantly.
“Go-Ahead Ireland’s apology today at the Oireachtas Transport Committee will come as cold comfort to the commuters who are being left on the side of the road due to no-shows and late buses.
“We heard today that Go-Ahead Ireland are experiencing an annual staff turnover of 25%. This is many multiples of their competitors in Dublin Bus and tells a tale in itself. Go-Ahead Ireland are now a number of years into their contract, so teething issues cannot be blamed.
“Such a high turnover is deeply concerning from a workers’ rights perspective, and goes some way to explain why so many services are now being cancelled.
“To address the driver shortage which is affecting all providers, we need high quality, well-paying jobs across our public transport network. We need to value public transport workers and recognise their contribution.
“It is important also that bureaucratic barriers are removed from the driver training, testing and licencing system to ensure drivers can be recruited and allowed to work as quickly as possible.
“Today we heard that, between Dublin Bus and Go-Ahead Ireland, there is a shortage of almost 200 drivers to meet current contracted services. Every effort must be made to urgently address this shortage.”