As coach and bus operators are still not sure when services will resume, but while they commend the Government for its action so far, John Halpenny, Chairman of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC) says more guidance is needed for companies to put measures in place, allowing confidence for people to get back in to buses. In a letter last week to Minster for Education, Joe Mc Hugh, the CTTC said they were ready to bring students to exams, if required.
More guidance needed
As we approach the next phase on the COVID-19 Government Road Map there is still no clarification from the Authorities in relation to standard operating procedures regarding passenger transport particularly in relation to the use of PPE equipment and guidelines in relation to social distancing. There will be a reluctance on the part of the public to travel on buses/coaches for fear of contracting the virus if these guidelines are not in place.
The CTTC would welcome the introduction of a quality hygiene standard which operators could adhere to reassuring commuters that it is safe to travel. There is also need for clarification from Government and Insurance companies regarding transport providers liability in respect of potential claims from members of the public.
As stated previously the CTTC recommended the interim Government on a series of business support measures including the wage subsidy scheme that have put in place, however, the supports available are of little value when the volume of SME’s countrywide that will need support is taken into account.
The Programme for Government, and the associated National Recovery Plan, currently being negotiated by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, smaller parties and independents must bring forward a suite of measures to support and sustain business’s and employment in the transport sector in the long term.
School Buses were ready to run – CTTC informs Education Minister
“Minister, Leaving Cert students don’t have to worry about getting to the exam hall on time, whenever the exams are, the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC), bus and coach operators are ready,” CTTC Chairman, John Halpenny.
“Private buses operators currently provide transport for 90% of students attending secondary schools in Ireland. Although the Leaving Cert exams have been cancelled, we were ready to react and in a strong position to assure any Leaving Cert students, their parents and the Government that getting to and from exam centres was not be a problem,” stated John.
“Social distancing may be a general concern for the population at large, but it is not be a problem on school buses during an exam period. During normal school time the bus will bring pupils from all six years that attend school, during exam time there will only be the Leaving Cert students on the bus (around one sixth of the normal passenger count), so social distancing is not difficult to achieve and implement. Since the closure of schools and colleges CTTC members have been preparing for the time when they will return to service and all operators have the practices and protocols ready and in place to ensure good hygiene practice is in force.”