April 16, 2015

Dublin Bus workers are right to fear route privatisation

Posted in Irish Independent · 41 comments ·
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I love getting the bus, don’t you? It appeals to my nosey side. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved being on the top of the bus, hopefully right at the front, looking into people’s gardens and over walls into the secret world of other people’s lives.

I like the public nature of the whole experience, watching commuters as they go about their business. This is also my nosey side; just the pleasure of watching people and wondering where they are off to. And then there’s the essential democracy of it; the fact that we are all collectively being shuttled from A to B.

These days, many people on the bus are locked into their digital universe, headphones on, sending the unmistakable signal out to all and sundry that they don’t want to be bothered. But there are always the chatterboxes who strike up conversations with whoever is misfortune enough to catch their eye.

I regularly get lectures on economics when I’m on the bus.

Recently, during the Graham Dwyer trial, a guy I vaguely knew from years ago sat beside me with his packed lunch and enthused about his weekend experiences in Dublin’s BDSM scene, which isn’t a patch on Berlin’s, I’ll have you know. Or so he said.

People talk about surprising things in public places.

Like all public services, Dublin Bus isn’t perfect, but it is communal and great cities are based on good communal experiences, whether they are public transport, public parks, public hospitals, public museums, public buildings or the public street itself.

Good public transport is the essential hardwiring of a proper city. The better the public transport, the better the city. Good public transport links between city and suburbs are the adhesive that bonds various parts of the city together.

When I was a kid, I loved getting the 46A from Dún Laoghaire to town. I especially liked the way this bus route meandered through the diverse suburbs. I experienced a range of feelings, from acute anxiety when passing through the council estates of Monkstown Farm, which I feared lest some “shaper” would hijack me for “odds”, to the mild jealousy when passing the walled lawns of Foxrock.

In contrast, a city that depends on the car exclusively is a nothing place. The car destroys cities – and we know that from all the evidence in America. It is not just the commuting to the outer suburbs which creates the soulless wasteland of an empty city at night surrounded by dormitory suburbs, but the singular experience of being in a car, hidden away from the rest of the population, means we never have the giddiness of the chance meetings with the rest of the city, which is one of the great joys of city living.

As a result of this, I am always concerned when I hear that there is a showdown between Dublin Bus drivers and Dublin Bus management over Government plans to privatize parts of Dublin’s bus service. I can see both sides of the argument.

The Government wants to open up parts of the city to private operators and the unions think the private operators will take the best routes, further squeezing Dublin Bus. The Government – rightly – approves the Ryanair model, which proves that if your get your fares right people will travel with you. This approach, the Government says, will actually provide more buses, more routes and ultimately, more jobs for bus drivers.

The drivers don’t see it this way. They see that the private operators will cherry pick the best routes and they – the public bus drivers -will be left driving for a company which will have smaller and smaller revenues because the profitable bus routes will be gone and they will be left dependent on a public subsidy.

In order to see how this might work and get a sense of both sides, I decided today to do a bit of a small, non-scientific experiment. I looked at two very different experiences where the public and private buses operate in my locality.

In Killiney, there is the public “Killiney bus”, as it’s known here. It is officially the 59 route, which goes from Dún Laoghaire to Killiney and then on to McIntosh Park in Pottery Road around by Deansgrange. This is a circuitous route that you couldn’t make up on acid, let alone sober trying to get directly from A to B.

But the route was planned according to the pattern of housing estates of the past from the council estates of Pottery Road to the three-bed semis of Glenageary, the corporation “buildings’ in Glasthule, the haughty mansions of Killiney and the two-up/two-downs of backstreet Dún Laoghaire. This is what a public route looks like.

In contrast, you have also the Aircoach to the airport, which leaves Killiney Castle Hotel and heads into town directly. I will be getting it later today; it’s a great service, beats driving and at €8 one-way is so much cheaper than a taxi. I get it regularly and it’s always on time, usually quite full, but not so full that you can’t get a seat, the wifi works and if you are prepared to chill out for an hour, it’s undoubtedly the most civilized way of getting to the terminal.

My experiment started earlier yesterday, when I got the 59 to Dún Laoghaire from Killiney village. It was a bit late: it was supposed to be there at 12.15 and came in at 12.27, but as it was a lovely day and the view from the bus stop to the Sugarloaf was beautiful, a little wait was no hassle. Although why a bus at midday in the suburbs should be late is open to question. There was only one other passenger on the double-decker bus. It is also expensive. At €2.55 for the 4km to Dún Laoghaire, compared with €8 for the 25k to the airport on the private bus, there is something wrong with the pricing structure on the public bus.

The bus itself was new, had working wifi, was very clean and the driver was – as almost always – good humoured. Tragically, only five people got on the bus from Killiney to Dún Laoghaire – all were over 65 and therefore on the bus pass. This means that the only revenue the bus received on this trip was my €2.55. The private operator would rightly scrap this route. Why would a profit-driven company keep it?

In contrast, the Aircoach makes decent money by keeping fares low and operating on a route where there is constant all-day traffic.

This anomaly is what the workers at Dublin Bus feel. If they are left with the 59-style routes, which are the legacy of past patterns of housing, before we saw mass suburban car ownership, they will be attached to the carcass of a dying animal.

Is it any surprise that they are up in arms?


  1. SMOKEY

    My worst nightmare, sitting next to a pervert on a bus. Smelling womens cheap perfume. Near the sick fuck who doesnt cover his mouth when he coughs. Youd have to be desparate to mingle with these low class citizens. Id walk first.

    • Avoid it like the plague myself, especially at night. Wouldn’t go near a night bus – would rather pay a €30 fare to Lucan by taxi if I’m out in the city at night.

      • silverbullet

        David, you fail to mention that Aircoach snatched the route, and service previously operated from Dalkey called the Patton flyer.
        Maybe Aircoach management had more friends in the Department of Transport.

      • DB4545

        Adam,
        Could you live with a frequent 8-16 seater minibus service from Lucan village to Eden Quay/Airport or whatever point to point someone is prepared to make a living from for 2-3 Euro each way and be prepared to wait 15mins for it to fill up?

        This type of vehicle requires a simple D1 licence and an owner operator could put one on the road for not much more than the cost of a new taxi.I think this type of service better reflects the needs of Dublin than double deckers (excluding a few major routes). Double deckers were fine during the industrial era when large numbers need to be shifted to factories/offices at key times 6-10am and 4-7pm.

        Shift working and other changes mean that large segments of our public transport are inconvenient for users and serve nobody except a few insiders. Let the well heeled pay the real cost of the DART.

    • coldblow

      I don’t know why everyone goes on about cheap perfume. I have nothing against it myself. Now I think about it, I don’t think I could tell the difference between cheap and expensive perfume. I’d probably feel happier if the woman sitting next to me hasn’t wasted her money on the expensive stuff.

      More annoying are the people who put a bag up on the seat next to them to discourage others from sitting next to them.

    • coldblow

      I have just thought of the person who really is annoying. That’s the man who is sprawled by the window and taking up half of the last seat left, the one I want to sit on. I really should be more assertive.

  2. jfcassidy95

    Hi David
    Great reflections on 46a. I was a bus conductor early 80s on the route and Mounttown was one of the most dangerous areas. Friday / Saturday nights fares could not be collected. Favourite missiles used against conductors were batteries. The only way to control potential violence was to drive as quickly as possible to keep potential troublemakers seated. They alighted at Mounttown and sighs of relief abounded, not least amongst other passengers….

  3. Colin

    ‘The drivers don’t see it this way. They see that the private operators will cherry pick the best routes and they – the public bus drivers -will be left driving for a company which will have smaller and smaller revenues because the profitable bus routes will be gone and they will be left dependent on a public subsidy.’

    Dublin bus drivers are free to leave Dublin Bus and join the new private operators if they wish too. What’s the problem? Oh, wait, maybe they won’t get all that overtime, or their performance on the bus will be monitored, or they’ll be sacked if they are found to be fcuking around instead of getting on with driving the bus….. and so on and so forth. Looks like David is now defending insiders.

  4. douglaskastle

    An under performing route is an under performing route. It is noble that we believe that the state should fund such bus services, but it is doing so at a loss, and who is covering that loss, you and me, the tax payer.

    If you want to look at a corollary look at the railways of Ireland, once upon a time Ireland had the most railways per acre in the world, then the 50s and 60s came along and most of the lines were closed due to massive inefficiencies of operation, ironically due to the rise of buses which were viewed as more cost effective (General Motors streetcar conspiracy non withstanding).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy

    Public funded buses are a dying beast, society and technology have moved on. I have used the aircoach and agree with the sentiment of the article, I don’t mind even paying extra for a nicer service.

    Also, hopefully, self driving cars start rolling around in the next 10 years, as a service, which effectively can be a single occupancy bus. I imagine the bus services of the world, like Dublin Bus, will struggle to compete against them and will either adapt or be phased out.

  5. I’m a 20 min walk from the luas and find I actually get home quicker than using the 16 bus which is only 5 min walk from me! Every time Dublin Bus workers go on strike more people probably realise they’re better off using the luas- no wonder luas passenger numbers have out passed estimates despite being completely packed at rush hour. Out of the luas, rail and Dublin bus; DB will probably have less than 60% of those passengers when the luas extension is finished and that’s before the new and existing private routes are taken into account. With more luas, metro and DART planned for the future- Dublin Bus is a dying breed. While it’s great all busses are 100% wheelchair accessable, we are have been ripped off to pay for their high salaries- not unlike Aer Lingus when they had a monopoly. I save 40 cents for every journey I make with luas and I know exactly what time I’ll be home.

    • cooldude

      I agree with the general tone that Dublin Bus does not provide a good service and I would have no problem with privatizing the other 90% as well or at least allowing other competitors offer their service. Why should the 59 meander around a route nobody wants mainly empty. It is simply there to keep some guy in a very costly job and he can’t even get his empty bus on time. If this route was privatized it would probably be eliminated and replaced by a small feeder bus to the nearby dart station which is a route that would be needed by commuters. There is too much sentimental bullshit about this whole “great public transport” system nonsense. All the commuters want is an efficient, cheap, clean mode of transport that takes them into the city on time and safely. Let Dublin Bus compete with other operators to provide this service and scrap all the useless 59 type routes and the sentimental bullshit that goes along with them.

  6. Deco

    Decisions like those concerning bus routes, are a consequence of bailing out the banks and the bondholders and insurance companies.

    We are living in a world of consequences. All that pervasive piss-up culture that ran riot between 1998 and 2008 is now coming at a price.

    It was a supreme level of arrogance in our society that thought that we could get away with it. We spent wastefully. We pissed money down the drain literally. It was a moment of mindless euphoria. And it resulted in dire consequences. We did not ALL party. But enough of us is DID party, to the point that it has come at a price.

    Arthur instructed us and we obeyed.

    Now we are having some sobering decisions to make.

    It would be nice to keep the 46A. But it is not the most efficient way to Dun Laoghaire. And a large proportion of the population have cars. IT could be replaced by a single decker.

    We have a settlement pattern that equates Dublin to a rural village. Berlin has the same physical footprint as Dublin, and three times the population. No of course Berlin is not as architecturally pleasing as Dublin. But I think you get the point.

    Dublin needs to rethink it’s building model, and build upwards, if it is to solve the ongoing housing crisis.

    Of course, that is IF the vested interests want to solve the housing shortage.

    As we all know – they don’t want to solve the shortage, they want to ensure it.

  7. Deco

    The biggest gap in public transport in Ireland is the need for the DART-U.

    This is a train from Connolly underneath the Liffey to Pearse and around to Heuston and Islandbridge.

    Cost : circa 3 Billion.

    A lot of money. But – cheaper than INBS and more expensive that bailing out EBS.

    Overall effect : reducing the fuel import bill in Ireland’s east region, massively. It is called “network externalities” I believe. When you have a system in place, that is available as a support for other parts of the system, the entire system works more efficiently.

    Unfortunately, we are led by clowns who are more concerned about their standing in Brussels than the quagmire that people endure at home.

    David – you should write an article (preferably in the SBP) on this subject. It would make an interesting topic from the viewpoint of economics.

    The fuel bill, and the motor car import bill would drop.

    • Colin

      Deco,

      Isn’t there a link already in place between connolly and heuston, using a tunnel under the phoenix park? It is due to be re-opened soon for the Kildare commuter trains to get home from the docklands, if I remember correctly? That tunnel should have trains using it every few minutes. Why it has been neglected is beyond me.

  8. Deco

    Here is another subject with regard to economics. Rail freight. Every country has rail freight. But I suspect that Ireland’s rail freight business is under-utilized.

    In particular questions must be asked about the rail freight potential between the Midlands and the South East [ Waterford Belview, Rosslare ].

    I suspect that Irish Rail are not in the business of “looking for business”.

  9. coldblow

    I am with David on this one, I think. I suppose he is defending insiders, but only in the outer circle as it were. The privatizers would, I assume, be further embedded. Privatizing may be all right in theory but I am very suspicious of it in practice. Hudson quoting Balzac warns that all the great fortunes originated in theft on a massive scale, and adds that this involves public assets.

    My old route to work was the 48A from Ballinteer. I used to cycle it but the inward journey was easy as it was all down hill while the return leg was a nightmare – it would have been much better the other way round.

    I used to have this dream for years that I was running for a bus and I’d just catch it at the last moment.

    • coldblow

      I got up out of bed last night to take a leak and I had just dreamt about a bus which was right out across the road trying to turn. I took a mental note to remember it and see if I saw something like this happening in real life today (or over the next few days). It was only after glancing through the comments here that I remembered that on my walk into work I had to get out of the way of a coach which was having trouble turning onto the hight street, although this is quite an unusual thing. J.W. Dunne’s book, An Experiment With Time (1929) refers – I read this when I was 14 or 15 and was impressed.

      A dream I actually did remember from a few weeks ago had me sitting on a bus. It too was trying to turn out onto a narrow street and it actually clipped the building opposite. Sinead O’Connor was on the bus a few seats away trying to tell me something but I was trying to ignore her. As it happens, I was on the internet for about an hour last night trying (again) to work out if she is an introvert or an extrovert (and John Waters therefore being the opposite). This one is doing my head in.

      That’s the way dreams seem to work.

  10. michaelcoughlan

    Hi,

    “In contrast, the Aircoach makes decent money by keeping fares low”

    That’s incorrect. Keeping fares low drives sales and revenue. Money is accumulated by management (they manufacture sfa) by shafting Mustafa or Jamal or Piotr or whoever is driving the bus with a min wage zero hour contract and cut throat competition for the “job”.

    The phrase “Arbeit macht Frei” comes to mind.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbeit_macht_frei

    • Colin

      Are Seamus, Mick and Paddy too good now for driving buses in Ireland?

      I’m afraid you are wandering into the useful idiot territory there Michael if you are concerned about Mustafa and Jamal. Mustafa and Jamal can go back home if they don’t like it here. A good question would be, how did they get in in the first place? Did they cross from Libya to Italy in a boat and throw a few Christians off over the side? Mustafa and Jamal do not need a few euros in their pockets for porter. They have their baby factories in good working order, their wives do what they are told, and both Mustafa and Jamal are viewed as pioneers in the umma, which confers great honour on them, more than money can buy.

      Gadaffi was right, islam will conquer Europe without a bullet needing to be fired. The war of the wombs has commenced.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Colin,

        Your post only merits a response to highlight the fact that you missed the point completely.

        You are posting on a public blog Colin and this post is filled racism, bigotry, hatred and an enormous amount of blind ignorance.

        It might be wise to get someone close to you to explain to you why you should stop doing it.

        No mention of Piiotr? He must be OK because the name sounds polish and chances are he is a white catholic so he must be “alight”.

        As for; “Are Seamus, Mick and Paddy too good now for driving buses in Ireland?”.

        The accountants don’t seem to think so.

        Michael.

        • Colin

          Piotr probably entered the country legally, so there is no issue. Are Jamal and Mustafa exercising EU labour law rights? Who said Jamal and Mustafa are not white? Couldn’t they be Bosnian or Kosovan or Albanian? These groups are white, so look Michael, you played the racist card and lost.

          So, please explain why the accountants would prefer to employ the foreigners instead of our own?

          • DB4545

            Colin and Michael

            I don’t think it matters if Sean or Michael or Pawel or Piotr or Mustapha or Ali or their female equivalents are driving the bus and are fully connected to Irish society and the Irish economy. What matters is that taxpayers get a cost effective and efficient service and the REAL cost of that service is transparent to the public. Employing cheap foreign labour for a transport or any other service while paying for dole/jobsbridge/internships from tax revenue is not effective, efficient or transparent for taxpayers. It is cost effective for the private sector to employ people on that basis because they’re not picking up the hidden costs of welfare payments/housing/medical cards etc. When these hidden costs are exposed it’s usually cheaper and better for the economy and society to upskill people and employ locally where possible. Put a kid in Mountjoy prison and it costs 80,000 Euro and the rest a year. Put him on the business end of a bin lorry with Dublin Corporation or driving a taxi or a bus under supervision and suddenly he’s contributing to society. It’s what we did in the 60′s and 70′s and we didn’t need expensive consultants or Europe to figure it out.

          • michaelcoughlan

            “So, please explain why the accountants would prefer to employ the foreigners instead of our own?”

            I won’t Colin because I don’t like you.

            I didn’t play any race card. You suffer from a similar type of self deluded madness as the bonbon’s.

            Michael.

          • Colin

            Michael,

            I’m afraid the record says you did play the race card.
            And for the record, my wife is not white, so what kind of ‘white racist supremacist’ marries outside his race? I bet you won’t answer that one either.

            ‘You are posting on a public blog Colin and this post is filled racism, bigotry, hatred and an enormous amount of blind ignorance.’

            I don’t dislike you Michael, I just said you were misguided on this matter.

            I’m sure bonbon is smiling wherever he is.

          • Colin

            DB4545,

            ‘ Employing cheap foreign labour for a transport or any other service while paying for dole/jobsbridge/internships from tax revenue is not effective, efficient or transparent for taxpayers.’

            I fully agree. But dare question it and you have the PC lefty mob calling you a racist before any debate about it can begin.

          • michaelcoughlan

            @DB4545

            I am not sure what point it is you are making. However the point in the article is that some routes are profitable and others are not.

            A bigger picture view can be looked at where some routes which are profitable can subsidise some which are not when the bus service is viewed as a whole.

            As for upskilling many of the people who are unemployed or were forced to emigrate are very highly skilled but are not employed by accountants because:

            1) They cost too much.

            McJobs is what’s happening to the rank and file in the country now. Falling wages in the teeth of economic contraction/stagnation and hyperinflation in stock markets is evidence of s totally fucked system.

            Michael.

            Regards,

            Michael.

          • michaelcoughlan

            “And for the record, my wife is not white, so what kind of ‘white racist supremacist’ marries outside his race? I bet you won’t answer that one either”

            I won’t answer it colin because I didn’t accuse you of being a white racist supremacist. You inferred that.

            Thats the point I am making. You infer things which have no basis in reality just like the bonbon’s.

            I am not having a go at you. I am just pointing out an error to you. I won’t do it again though like I said I am not having go at you.

            Michael.

          • Colin

            Michael,

            I see….. the post is racist in your eyes (even though I said nothing offensive about non-white people) but I’m not a racist in your eyes, but you don’t like me now because maybe I’m making racist posts??? ok, I see, now I understand, thanks.

            Now, if you were working as a QS in Albania, and suddenly there was a downturn in the construction sector there, and you were given your notice and you could no longer work in Albania, do you think for one second the Albanian equivalent of the pc lefty brigade – I doubt it if they have one – or the Albanian people in general would be jumping up and down complaining about how unfair it is that foreigner Michael Coughlan lost his job while Mustapha Ibrahimi the Albanian kept his?

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi,

            I have read your last post Colin and based on it’s contents I don’t propose to say anything.

            Michael.

        • DB4545

          michaelcoughlan

          The point I’m making Michael is that we have to use our scarce resources efficiently. A new routemaster like the one David described costs £355,000 to buy according to wikipedia. Factor in a driver, diesel, insurance,tyres and maintenance and a fare collected of Euro 2.55 is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers money. It doesn’t make sense in Killiney or two mile borris. Killiney has the service because the well heeled know which buttons to press in order to shake down the taxpayer for services they deem essential. This is repeated in Education, Health and every other service. It’s why St. Vincent’s Hospital looks like a private hospital. It’s why most kids in D6 will be going to Trinity and why some kids in D24 or D8 will be going to Mountjoy. It’s the insiders and outsiders situation applied to transport.

          DB

  11. DB4545

    Transport in the Dublin region brings up a number of issues.

    1. Why are these inefficient routes retained and why are so many of them in affluent areas and heavily subsidized by ordinary taxpayers?
    2. Why are affluent suburbs in general so well served by public transport (ie. the Dart serving Howth to Greystones)?
    3.If you live in Greystones/Howth and work in Dublin your transport costs are approx 12 to 20 Euro a WEEK net after tax relief if you buy an annual ticket. Great for the stockbrokers in the IFSC but a lot more expensive for plebs in commuter towns paying for cars/petrol/insurance/tax/tolls etc. probably costing approx 150 Euro a Week.
    4. Where’s the integrated ticketing for the Dublin/Leinster region and a circle line to link all the train/luas lines??
    5. Why not use the LUAS for freight in off peak hours to maximise efficiency and reduce the requirement for heavy goods vehicles in the city centre? This happens in other European cities like Amsterdam and Dresden.
    6. If the routes are privatized who regulates the monopoly effectively? Just look at the DAA and the sharp increase in passenger charges. It just creates another Quango for insiders.
    7. Who gets the contracts for the routes? Just look at the crony capitalism that already exists in the Country. When a question is asked in the Dail the standard reply is “It’s commercially sensitive” which translates as “the brown envelope is lodged in my Swiss bank account and my ministerial pension is gold plated so f**k off and mind your own business”.
    8. Is your bin service any cheaper since Piotr or Pavel starting collecting it? The profits are probably funnelled through the usual tax havens with no accountability or benefit to revenue or taxpayers. Half the wages of Piotr and Pavel are probably going back to Warsaw and are not being spent in the Irish economy. How does this benefit Irish taxpayers? Why not just pay decent wages and try to ensure those wages are spent in the Irish economy?
    9.Why not simply conduct a complete analysis and review of all routes and change them to reflect the changing demographics of the City?

    Privatizing public transport in Ireland delivers the same outcome as legalizing murder. It changes nothing for the victim, it just ensures that the murderer walks away scot free by shouting “There’s nothing to see here folks it’s commercially sensitive”.

  12. michaelcoughlan

    hi David.

    This is a link to an add filmed on a bus encouraging members of the public to use the services of the financial regulator when confused about the various offerings from various financial institutions,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l74083zafAM

    I was just wondering if we could ring the assho%e and ask him/her to explain why they are sitting on their fingers when the public is being massacred as explained by max keiser here:

  13. Deco

    {
    1. Why are these inefficient routes retained and why are so many of them in affluent areas and heavily subsidized by ordinary taxpayers?
    2. Why are affluent suburbs in general so well served by public transport (ie. the Dart serving Howth to Greystones)?
    3.If you live in Greystones/Howth and work in Dublin your transport costs are approx 12 to 20 Euro a WEEK net after tax relief if you buy an annual ticket. Great for the stockbrokers in the IFSC but a lot more expensive for plebs in commuter towns paying for cars/petrol/insurance/tax/tolls etc. probably costing approx 150 Euro a Week.
    4. Where’s the integrated ticketing for the Dublin/Leinster region and a circle line to link all the train/luas lines??
    }

    Insightful, in terms of the decision making that exists in the Irish institutional state. It is like as if the people who matter in Dublin built a transport system to bring them to work, in the 1980s. Meanwhile there was mayhem in Clondalkin, Cabra, Ballyfermot, Crumlin, the Nass Road area – where the outsider workforce was concentrated in the 1980s.

    There was no overall plan. Just a plan for a few people “in the know” so that they could have their own seaside train system. With half the natural hinterland under water – because it was along the sea shore.

    Dublin – how not to plan a city.

  14. DB4545

    Deco

    This is not rocket science. We’re Independent for some amount of years now so we can’t go on blaming our “colonial legacy”. But we have a habit of copying UK policy in lots of areas and changing the boilerplate slightly to make it “Oirish” and it’s not f**king working. This applies as much to our health services as our transport services. The German model works for transport. Look at how they modernised the old East German States to integrate them into their regional and nation system. They know how to run a transport system so why not copy a system that works. There’s nothing wrong with privatisation if if delivers efficiency for taxpayers but we both know that in Ireland it will deliver brown envelopes and crony contracts for insiders. Who got the contracts for supply and installation of the water meters? Who will get the contracts valued at a billion Euro for the three proposed motorway service stations? They’ve forced commuters onto the roads and proceed to fleece them with tolls and now crony contracts for service stations that are overpriced. How does it cost a billion Euro for 3 x 2 petrol stations, 2 coffee shops, 2 fast food outlets, toilets and a few service roads? What’s the other 900 million for? The Germans could probably provide a transport network for a small city for that figure. The Japanese said they could deliver a turnkey Metro network for Dublin for 4 billion a few years ago. Who the f**k is pricing these projects?

    If we need to privatise why not use the contract catering model to deliver efficiencies? In private and public staff restaurants around the country contract caterers provide the labour and expertise. The ownership and capital equipment is retained by the business or public agency involved. This is how the transport network operates in parts of Germany. This would allow the Irish taxpayer to retain control of the network and ownership of capital equipment such as buses, trains and trams while allowing the labour and management to go out to tender. From what I understand the LUAS has an “Irish” version of this process. Do you understand how the LUAS is regulated and where the profits go? I don’t.

    Here’s the deal. Paddy and Sean earn 500 Euro a week as bus drivers. They spend all that money in the local economy. Privatisation says we sack them and pay Pawel and Piotr 400 Euro a week and therefore save taxpayers 100 Euro a week. Unfortunately that 100 Euro “saving” is funnelled as profit into an offshore account(Check out the companies linked to some bin collection contracts) never to be seen again by taxpayers. Pawel and Piotr work hard and live 10 to a house, buy their food and drink in Lidl or Aldi and have minimal contact with the Irish economy and save 200 Euro a week which ends up in the Polish economy. Meanwhile Paddy and Sean end up on the dole collecting 188 a week, housing benefit and a medical card. The estimate is that it costs taxpayers 44,000 Euro a year to have a family of 4 on the dole. How does that scenario deliver an effective transport network or savings for the taxpayer?

    Ireland-how to not plan a Country.

  15. survivalist

    The essential democracy of a public bus commute would be the fact that the company was owned by those who worked it among other aspects perhaps?
    With regards to the belief that the better the public transport, the better the city I would guess that on the list of priorities of those living in the city and who would desire to see the city improved this is something of a lower priority –but this is only my opinion.
    Now as regards the Government’s plans to privatize parts of Dublin’s bus service and returning to the theme of democracy, I ask, ought this not be the choice of the people-if we are to be truly democratic?
    Again this is not a business, profit or economic value decision that is being made though it is being presented as such. This is a decision being taken on the structuring of society by a small group who are not likely motivated by the interests of the majority on the city. In addition it is further economic assault on those least able to afford it. It is not the top 10% of wealth in this country that depend on public services.

    • DB4545

      A quick solution to transport problems in Dublin at little cost to the taxpayer? A minibus service licenced to carry 8-10 people point to point and able to use bus lanes. The driver gets a PSV licence and is compliant for insurance and vehicle safety and is an owner/operator. They chose the routes they want to operate. The market sets the price. It would be a hybrid of the black cabs in Belfast/Dolmens in Turkey. Sample journeys? Airport to City Centre LUAS/Dart/Train Station stop for 1.5-2 Euro. Swords to City Centre 1.5 Euro. Lucan to City Centre 2 Euro. Plenty of work for the little guy,little cost to the taxpayer, simple to understand, helpful for tourism and it gives nothing to existing insiders. Works in Belfast and Istanbul. What’s not to love?

      • Living on one of the gulf Islands here in SW BC, there is little public transit at all.

        There is a recent government subsidized bus service on Salt spring to connect with the ferry service and nothing on the other islands.

        A common way of getting around is to thumb. People often stop and others often thumb.

        An innovation on some other Islands is a car stop system. Designated spots where people can wait for an obliging car.

        It works without a schedule, for people who need, provided by those willing to share.

        Would it work in a city? Who knows. I have not seen it tried.

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