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Bus Privatisation… September 16, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Since we were speaking of it earlier this week, some scepticism expressed about the supposed 10% privatisation of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services in the SBP this last weekend. The idea is that private operators would be allowed to take over ten per cent of services. This was meant to be completed this year but a number of bidders including National Express from the UK have pulled out.

Dualway likewise, and they’re not crystal clear as to why they pulled out bar the ‘length of time’ it was taking. According to Dualway labour costs weren’t an issue (nor was the fact that existing staff would carry their terms and conditions into private companies).

But you know, a deeper question is why all this is necessary? What precisely is the problem that would necessitate this change?


1. Gavin Mendel-Gleason - September 16, 2016

It’s an avenue for valourisation of capital plain and simple. Commoditise a service, privitise it, and laugh all the way to the bank.


WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2016

Surely, and I’m bring more than half rhetorical in asking it but what is so striking is how thin to non existent the reasons put forward publicly for this as if the assumption is it is a self evident public good/and or they can’t really justify it as anything more than sheer tokenism , and that suggests to me that the rationales are now near threadbare even on their own terms.


2. Gewerkschaftler - September 16, 2016

What G M-G said plus:

Make delivery and management more complex and introduce rent-extraction opportunities for a chain of middle-men. And ideally (from the exploiters point of view) afford an opportunity to borrow and pay out on stock inflation and executive / consultant’s ‘renumeration’.


3. CMK - September 16, 2016

Private bus companies like flexibility and being able to duck and dive a bit in response to demand.

There is one company I know of that leases buses on very short leases so that if demand dips they can dispense with a part of their overheads by not renewing leases. Of course, the workers, not unionised can likewise be dispensed with if demand dips.

The private operators can, therefore, manage their loads to ensure capacity is at a profitable level most of the time.

If they take over a route previously operated by Dublin Bus they are handed a pretty stringent route licence which they must adhere to, as well as public service obligations. They will be getting a subvention but there are no guarantees that they can profitably run buses in the way they would like and once they are committed to a route they can’t back out and must take the hit if demand and revenues dip.

That might explain the nervousness about bidding for Dublin Bus routes. They could be given the kinds of subventions that would wipe out this anxiety but that would, almost inevitably, mean subventions several magnitudes bigger than the current Dublin Bus one, which would be political dynamite at this point in time.


WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2016

+1 its like O’Learys call for privatisation…no such thing when mass subventions are necessary just to keep it going and with public transport there’s no way if doing it otherwise.


CMK - September 16, 2016

Absolutely, O’Leary is getting close to half a billion euro a year in public subsidies across Europe and, as someone pointed out, a lot of the airports Ryanair utilise are publicly owned or are former air force bases built with public money.

In the present atmosphere I can’t see 10% of routes being privatised as I doubt many of the drivers and other staff will have any confidence that their terms and conditions will be respected by a private operator.

And, to add to my points above, I can’t see too many private operators being keen on the payouts for staff assaulted at work; counselling and supports etc – all of which Dublin Bus has the capacity to provide by virtue if its size.


WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2016

We saw it with waste collection – no assurances for workers are worth a damn.

Just on O’Leary I’d love to see someone challenge him seriously re aerofuel subventions


trevor - September 16, 2016

Could they get that flexibility without defeating the organised union workforce though?

You’d think that the “bus wars” in Britian highlighted the idiocy of the competition logic and motive to privatise. It’s well know that the less profitable routes end up being under-serviced and why would anyone want to sell a profitable route!?

That said there’s probably people still pissed at the last shake-up of the network where routes were cancelled, altered or amalgamated without any real input from the public, poorly publicised tokenistic ‘consultations’ aside.

Oh and fare hikes haven’t done much to DB’s reputation. Of course though private fares would be higher


sonofstan - September 16, 2016

Fares on the privatised buses here in Bucks. are high enough that even for one person a taxi is often cheaper – mind you the taxis are cheap by Dublin/ London standards.


4. gendjinn - September 16, 2016

“But you know, a deeper question is why all this is necessary? What precisely is the problem that would necessitate this change?”

Water fills every crack.


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