As the school bus fleet across the country prepares to return to service, the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC) calls on Bus Eireann to increase funding to ensure cleaning and sanitisation standards on school buses are maintained.
The CTTC wrote to Stephen Kent, the CEO of Bus Eireann this week to highlight the inadequacy of the financial support available to school transport operators which was announced recently.
While welcoming the recognition by Bus Eireann of the extensive measures that will have to be put in place in order to uphold public health requirements and to ensure the safety of all passengers, the CTTC expressed its surprise and bemusement of the limited financial assistance being proffered by Bus Eireann in order to address the considerable extra expense that will be incurred in ensuring public health standards.
The representative body expressed that the amount granted is totally unsatisfactory in circumstances where it falls far short of the costs expected to be incurred and they have called for parity with the amount granted by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to Public Service Obligation (PSO) route operators which they say is “representative of the average cost of carrying out these necessary cleaning and hygiene procedures”.
The representative body also highlighted the fact that despite this late stage, and with no prior notice, that Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing (CVRT) on vehicles which have been postponed due to the three month COVID-19, are now not being accepted by Bus Eireann for school contract runs. It was expressed by Chairman of the CTTC, John Halpenny, that this will cause massive disruption to the school transportation system with a reduction of buses on the road and will possibly leave hundreds, if not thousands, of children stranded.
The CTTC has called on Bus Eireann to enter into talks with them at their earliest possible convenience in order to resolved the outstanding issues.