Intercity Bus routes are essential services and closure decision must be reviewed

28 September 2020
  • Sectoral Employment Order for private bus industry still needed.

Shutting down Bus Éireann routes between major cities must be reviewed said Labour Transport spokesperson Duncan Smith as it will lead to the loss of services for many other towns along the routes, calling on the Minister to intervene, and establish his stakeholder forum.

Deputy Smith said:

“The announcement today from Bus Éireann is deeply concerning as the Covid-19 pandemic is used to cut and reduce transport services that are a vital link for many towns and cities. We need to be expanding public transport options, not reducing them.

“That our national bus company is not prepared to provide express services between the main cities in our country is a retrograde step, and I am calling on them to review their decision. The Minister for Transport needs to intervene here as it is part of a long running management agenda to reduce Expressway services due to intense competition in the sector. We’ve previously called for a Sectoral Employment Order to be introduced in the bus sector, and to make it a condition of NTA licenses to private operaters that they would engage in collective barganining to set industry standards on terms and conditions for drivers.

“The Programme for Government includes a commitment to establish a National Public Transport Forum involving all stakeholders, and the Minister for Transport needs to convene that now to address this latest loss of services.

“The closure of these routes is also not just a loss of competition, but it will be a terrible loss to the towns on each individual schedule. For example the Dublin to Cork service stops in Cashel, Cahir, Mitchelstown and Fermoy. The same situation applies on the other services that will be scrapped.

“The State owned company should not be retreating from services in the midst of a pandemic and climate crisis. I am particularly concerned that a route like the X51 that links Galway to Limerick with a stop at Shannon will also now be lost, and that this will be the first of more route closures.”

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