Dublin commuters may be consulted on bus routes
South Dublin council says review of Dublin Bus routes in 2014 is an opportunity to have say on awarding licences
A suggestion that the move was a smokescreen for the privatisation of Dublin Bus was rejected. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Commuters, local authorities and even residents associations could have a formal say in the awarding of Dublin Bus route licences from next year, under a proposal endorsed by South Dublin County Council last night.
Under the Dublin Transport Act 2008, Dublin Bus route licences are due to expire in 2014. Under the Act, the National Transport Authority can carry out a review of the effectiveness of the bus company’s routes and if necessary award a licence to a different service provider.
South Dublin councillors last night called on the transport authority to formally include consultation with local authorities, elected representatives, commuters and business interests in such a licensing review.
Some councillors spoke of difficulty in convincing Dublin Bus of the merits of serving particular areas and said 2014 was a “prime opportunity” to address long-standing issues of route selection.
William Lavelle (FG) rejected suggestions from Marie Devine (Sinn Féin) that the move was a smokescreen for privatisation, saying that he too would be against privatisation of the State-owned bus company.
He said Dublin Bus had refused to operate a route directly from Lucan through Tallaght to Clondalkin “down the spine” of the council’s administrative area and the opportunity had arisen for councillors to have a role in delivering future transport policy.
Chris Bond (Lab) said there could be a formal consultative role for councillors in transport reviews, “not just in Dublin but right around the country”.
Paddy Cosgrave (Lab) said the council had long tried to engage with Dublin Bus on specific routes. It had not even said why suggestions had been rejected. Now the licence review meant the local authority could have its say, he said.
Mayor Dermot Looney (Lab) said in that Dublin 12, An Post had decided to move the post office, but Dublin Bus saw no need to supply a service to the new post office. While he would not support privatisation, he felt the opportunity to engage in public consultation should not be missed.