John Halpenny, Chairman of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC) the representative body for coach tour and private bus operators, has stated that communities must not be left without inter-city bus connections following Bus Éireann’s recent route cull. Private operators are ready to expand and enhance their services to cover any gaps in regular route schedules.
“Government must now recognise that the private bus and coach sector has a greater role to play in the future provision of national transport so that entire communities are not left without transport connectivity,” began John.
He added that Bus Éireann’s decision to close down some of inter-city Expressway routes as a result of financial pressures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision not to resume another express service reflects a transport ethos incompatible with public need.
Bus Éireann, the State-owned transport company, is to end the current Dublin-Cork, Dublin-Limerick, Dublin-Galway and Dublin-Belfast routes while an express service running from Galway to Limerick via Shannon airport, which ceased to operate during the summer will not resume.
“With the viability of many state run bus services now impacted, the private bus and coach sector has a more elevated role to play in national transport provision into the future. This is particularly the case given the programme for Government specifies the need for sustainable transport solutions and our membership is keen to play its part. Planning additional services in cities across the country does not negate in any way the loss of transport services for the rest of the country and Government must be acutely conscious of the need to provide vital transport links into our towns and villages.”
“Our members are more than willing to step up to the plate and provide transport to local communities that have now been abandoned by Bus Éireann. We are now calling on Government and the National Transport Authority not to let gaps in transport services across the country to develop and to engage with us in a meaningful way with regard to the routes earmarked for closure.”