Having consulted with members, the Coach Transport & Tourism Council (CTTC) has drafted a document requesting Government action on five particular points to help the Bus & Coach industry get through the current crisis and enable business return to pre-virus levels. Separately, the passenger transport organisation will liaise with the lending industry, requesting a twelve to eighteen month moratorium on all existing borrowing.
Listed are the CTTC requested actions which are currently being sent to Government, public officials, and other relevant stakeholders. In addition, the CTTC will be liaising with lending industry representatives requesting a 12 to 18month moratorium of existing debt.
- Direct Government Support– such as a continuation with the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme until the tourism and transport sector returns to normal, and the introduction of a turnover-linked direct Government grant to assist with liquidity and restoration of the fuel rebate for the sector. These measures will help retain key workers and protect the employment of seasonal, Gaeltacht and over 66 year-old workers.
- Reclassification of VAT Status to harmonise the island’s VAT system.Northern Ireland operators have an advantage over republic of Ireland operators as they can claim VAT back on what they spend. Operators in the Republic cannot reclaim VAT. The impact of COVID-19 and the potential consequences of Brexit mean that it is imperative that Dail Éireann removes this anomaly.
- Supporting Scheduled Services– Social distancing means increased costs. Vehicles may need adapting and capacity will reduce. Without Government help these services will not make enough money to operate, leading to an increase in vehicle emissions as people switch to car use. Supporting scheduled services will ensure the sustained and professional delivery of services in the short to medium term.
- Tourism Task Force Membership– The CTTC is requesting to have a representative on the Tourism Recovery Task Force, to ensure the voice of the transport aspect of tourism is heard.
- Initiation of a new Public Transport Recovery Task Force– With an independent Chair and budget. It should include all key organisations involved in public transport. The Task Force should advise on how to re-start the industry with social distancing measures and advise on post-COVID-19 transport changes, particularly in relation to infrastructure provision, active transport and the climate crisis.