The exclusion of private bus companies from the new 20% fare reduction scheme could put hundreds of coach businesses at risk of closure.
That’s according to the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC), which released a statement today calling for private operators to be included in the scheme.
The reduction on State-funded public transport services came into effect in Dublin today and will remain in place on Dublin Bus, Luas, DART, Go-Ahead Ireland, and commuter rail services until the end of this year.
The scheme is already operational on Bus Éireann and Local Link services outside of Dublin.
The CTTC said that the exclusion of commercial entities risks putting private operators out of business by creating a monopoly on transport services.
Smaller, family-run, businesses are not able to replicate the discount due to operating costs and rising fuel prices, the group said.
“This decision risks putting hundreds of operators out of business. The majority of our members operate regional and commuter services and as a result of this exclusionary policy, many of our passengers are now being actively disadvantaged,” said CTTC Chairperson John Halpenny.
“The solution is straightforward. The Department of Transport must seek to include commercial bus operators in the 20% fare reduction scheme as a matter of grave urgency.
“We estimate the total cost of rolling out this scheme across the private transport network to be approximately €23.7 million - a relatively modest investment, when compared to the hundreds of millions of funding allocated by the Government for PSO and Local Link services in Budget 2022.”