Luas and bus hikes may be up to mayor
DUBLIN Bus and Luas fares would be brought under the control of a directly-elected mayor in proposals being considered by the Government.
The Herald has learned that the move is part of plans to create the powerful position.
Senior officials in the Department of Transport are already considering the idea, which would lead to the biggest shake-up of transport services that Dubliners have witnessed in recent years.
The transfer of Dublin Bus and the Luas would mean that a mayor would have a large say in the fares charged to commuters.
It could result in a colourful election campaign, in which candidates could make promises that would affect people's day-to-day budgets.
But the proposal hinges on the Dublin electorate, who will next year decide whether the mayor's position is created.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who has himself expressed an interest in running for the job, is strongly behind the idea of a major transfer of powers.
A well-placed source told the Herald: "Minister Varadkar believes in the devolution of powers in relation to the directly-elected mayor.
"In relation to transport, this process could potentially involve both Dublin Bus and the Luas."
The minister is in favour of passing legislation which would see a raft of state agencies stripped of powers, staff and portions of their respective budgets as part of the process.
These include the National Transport Authority, the National Roads Authority, Failte Ireland, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
None of these agencies provided a comment when contacted by this newspaper.
A number of individuals have already been linked to the position of a directly elected-mayor, the most notable being Minister Varadkar.
The radical proposals stem from a draft report being considered by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
Mr Hogan is considering the study and will raise the proposals with his Cabinet colleagues in the coming weeks.