Plans by the government to make cuts on public transport in Ireland are gathering steam, with a consultants report recommending massive changes to transport provision.
One item worthy of special attention is that the minister is talking about reducing, or even removing, service provision on bus routes that are “under performing”.
We don’t expect things to remain as they are, and efficiencies that improve things for commuters are a great thing, but the focus of the government does not seem to be on the right things. They are asking “How can we save money?” when they should be asking “How can we make public transport better?”.
As we have been saying from day one, public transport is not there to make money. One of it’s functions is to get people moving so that they can generate money for the economy by getting to their destination on time, for instance to work or the shops. Is anyone actually quantifying the effect of Dublin Bus’ service beyond the fare box?
Cormac Murphy of the Herald reports:
DOZENS of Dublin Bus routes should be scrapped in favour of new services to expanding suburbs, a new report has advised.
The report being submitted to the Department of Transport claims the company’s route network should be revamped to meet commuters’ needs.
The document, by management consultants Deloitte, recommends some services should be closed down or merged, with the spare capacity redirected to other areas.
Carrying 500,000 passengers a day, Dublin Bus is the capital’s largest public transport operator.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey has already opened talks with the company and its sister firms, Irish Rail and Bus Eireann, about cost reductions.
Mr Dempsey met transport executives in November and December over cost-cutting measures.
A provision of €313m has been made this year for the annual State subvention for the three companies.
Mr Dempsey also approved a 10pc increase in fares from January 1. However, he called for reduced services on under-performing routes.
CIE — Dublin Bus’s parent company — is seeking to implement massive cuts, which could include hundreds of jobs, as the company faces losses of €131m.
The public transport operator is considering redundancies at Bus Eireann and the withdrawal of some services as well as garage closures and a pay freeze.
The company, which is made up of Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Iarnrod Eireann, is reviewing costs. CIE said recently it was looking at all aspects of the customer base to see where savings can be made.
The company’s projected loss of €131m in 2009 compares to losses of €1.5m in 2007.
The problems within CIE have been exacerbated by a fall-off in bus passenger numbers by 4pc last year, while rail passengers were down by 1pc.
Costs are projected to rise by €73m, or 10pc, across the group this year.
Dublin Bus conducted a network review in 2005 and promised to increase annual passenger numbers by 15 million (10pc) between 2006 and 2008.
But CIE chairman John Lynch revealed last month that passenger numbers had fallen by up to 6pc in a year.
Mr Lynch said the recession had reduced the number of immigrants, who are heavy users of public transport.