20 January 2009

Public Transport in Ireland deteriorates further as Bus Éireann implements Dempsey's Job Cuts

Bus Éireann, the national bus company and backbone of public transport in Ireland, is to cut 320 jobs, and its bus fleet will be reduced by 150 vehicles.
decision of the company's management was conveyed to its 2700 employees earlier today.

Bus Éireann also outlined a 'cost effectiveness plan' with measures it says are "necessary to ensure its success in a very challenging economic environment".
In addition to the job cuts and reduction in its fleet, the plan also includes a pay freeze up to the end of 2009 as well as the deferring of payment of the terms of the Towards 2016 agreement.

In 2007 Bus Éireann made a profit of € 7 million, but last year it had losses of € 9 million, and that figure was projected to reach € 30 million in 2009.
The company says that "the unprecedented economic downturn" led to a 4% decrease in Bus Éireann customer numbers in 2008. It estimates that there will be a further 5% to 6% fall in passenger numbers in 2009.

Bus Éireann says it hopes that savings from the plan "will restore the company to a strong financial position" by the end of 2010.
This is, however, at best very optimistic and more likely completely unrealistic. How can one expect a consolidation of one's business with increased passenger numbers and solid profit when the number and quality of services is reduced, while the fares are rising at the same time? One really wonders on what planet the managers of Bus Éireann and its parent company CIÉ live...

Last week, Dublin Bus announced 290 job losses as part of a series of cost-cutting measures, which include also withdrawing 120 city buses, which is 10% of its fleet.
It said no routes will be removed, but some services would be "amalgamated" and that the frequency of buses would be "adjusted" in some areas.
Well, this is the same concept as in Bus Éireann, the idea that one can earn more money by offering less service for more money.

There is no vision of the future, no inspiration and no sense for reality in CIÉ, the state-owned transport company that acts as umbrella for Iarnród Éireann (Irish Railways), Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus. And since the company is directly controlled - and systematically wrecked - by the Department of Transport, there is not much leeway for new ideas, even if they had them.

Noel Dempsey (right), currently the Minister for Transport, has so far left every department he ran in a complete mess, and he will make no exception with Transport.
The job cuts and reductions of transport services and vehicles is his idea (see my entry of December 17th, 2008) and he does not care the slightest what this disastrous mismanagement does to the country and to the many users of public transport. Dempsey moves around the country in a chauffeur-driven huge Mercedes and lives like a king. He has no idea what it means to travel on an over-crowed bus that runs 30-40 minutes behind schedule...

I wonder if the employees of Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus will have the guts to fight the announced job cuts, or if they let them just happen while more than 10% of their colleagues are shoved off onto the dole.
Now is the time to stand up and be counted. If you don't, you will be counted out and gone for good...

The Emerald Islander

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