SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Owen Reidy, has said the free transport scheme for senior citizens is under threat given the fact that the National Transportation Authority (NTA) has decided to privatise up to 10% of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann services by 2016. In the case of Waterford 100% of the Bus Eireann service is to be privatised. “SIPTU is very concerned given the lack of clear commitment of many of the private operators to the free travel arrangement. There has been speculation from some of their spokespersons in recent days that they would withdraw from the scheme and this has caused worry and uncertainty for senior citizens. “These concerns will be further exacerbated if up to 10% of Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus routes are privatised. SIPTU members have campaigned and argued against this ideologically driven agenda. Part privatisation of these services will be a bad deal for the citizen and tax payer, the travelling public and indeed the workers who provide such services within the CIE group of companies,” Owen Reidy said. “Spokespersons for some private operators have made it very clear that they are at best lukewarm about honouring free travel arrangements for our senior citizens and this is yet another reason why the National Transport Authority and the Government need to pause on this plan to part privatise important routes and services,” he said.