While this Strategy document is forward-looking, it is necessary to briefly reflect on the context in which it was developed.
2014 saw the first signs of economic recovery taking hold following the extraordinarily difficult six year period of challenging economic conditions since 2008. Like the communities CIÉ serves, CIÉ and its companies went through a period of painful adjustment as we grappled with a declining public transport market and a Government short on funds for public transport.
During the difficult times CIÉ remained committed to delivering safe and reliable public transport across the country despite a funding gap which emerged as a result of the combination of lower patronage and significant cuts in current and capital funding. To make ends meet, CIÉ Group resorted to an unsustainable pattern of borrowing money and selling assets to maintain its services in the national economic interest.
All stakeholders in CIÉ - the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS), The National Transport Authority (NTA), our passengers and our staff have contributed to bringing CIE through the extremely difficult times.
Firstly, in 2014 the DTTaS supported a joint NTA/Irish Rail review which considers long-term sustainable funding scenarios for the national rail transport system. As a result the Exchequer provided supplementary infrastructure funding in 2014 which will underpin our capacity to maintain the network throughout 2015 and into 2016. Developing a longer term future requires further focus on options to address these requirements.
Our staff have participated in significant cost reduction programmes. Costs had to be reduced across the companies, particularly payroll. I would like to pay tribute to the staff in all the companies for courageously dealing with the very difficult choices we have been faced with.
Our passengers have accepted additional fare increases which we acknowledge have been above the rate of general price inflation. Going forward consideration is required of the balance to be struck between encouraging more use of public transport and fare increases while at the same time ensuring that public transport services are adequately funded.
Thankfully, with the benefit of economic recovery and with the continued support of our shareholder, CIÉ is well positioned to provide public transport services which are a key enabler of economic growth in the domestic economy.
As we progress through this planning cycle the challenge of developing our competitiveness so that we maintain our position as the leading public transport service provider will inevitably increase. In recent, extremely challenging times, CIÉ has demonstrated its capacity to consistently deliver reliable, punctual, efficient and safe public transport services. I believe that this stands CIÉ in good stead for the challenges which lie ahead.
Key to CIÉ’s success in expanding our public transport services is the National Transport Authority (NTA). The NTA as transport regulator has contractual relationships with CIÉ’s operating subsidiaries, Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann. In tandem with the subsidiaries CIÉ will work as a proactive partner with the NTA to continue to improve the public transport services provided in Ireland. This commitment to improvement is the cornerstone of the presented vision in this document.
To ensure we are best placed to take advantage of improving circumstances it is timely that we engage in a thorough strategic review of the services our subsidiaries and CIÉ will provide going forward. This strategy document summarises the factors that CIÉ has considered in adopting its strategy and which will influence what CIÉ and its subsidiaries do between now and 2020. It sets out our ambition for a stronger and more financially secure CIÉ which provides better services to our travelling passengers and a rewarding and secure environment in which to be employed.
Of course, delivery of financially successful and sustainable public transport services is critically dependant on our hard-working staff. We know that with the support of our colleagues we can deliver our strategy to the benefit of all.
CIÉ Group Strategy 2015 - 2020 Downloadable PDF
CIÉ Group Strategy 2015 - 2020.pdf