Private bus operators call for €32m support package to address Covid-19 fall-out

The Coach Tourism and Transport Council said the funds are needed to help them deal with the "profound impact" of the Covid-19 pandemic
Private bus operators call for €32m support package to address Covid-19 fall-out
John Halpenny, chairman of the Coach Tourism and Transport Council. Picture: CTTC

Private bus and coach operators are calling for a €32 million financial support package for the sector.

The Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC), a representative body for the sector, said the funds are needed to help them deal with the "profound impact" of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a submission to the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee, the CTTC also called for the extension of a temporary moratorium on loan repayments and for parity of tax practices between the Republic and Northern Ireland, which would allow the sector to claim back VAT.

Chairman of the CTTC, John Halpenny, said: “It is crucial for Government to fully understand the unprecedented impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on private bus and coach operators.

"While we fully acknowledge our sector is not unique, the reality is buses move Ireland and they are a vital cog in generating Ireland’s economic activity," he said.

"While financial supports are an important aspect, it is also vital that we restore passenger confidence and government and state agencies need to express their support for the use of public transport as a safe and efficient way of moving people around the country.

"Calls to avoid public transport should cease and energies directed instead towards achieving compliance in the use of facemasks and sanitisers on public transport," Mr Halpenny said.

According to the CTTC, there are 1,721 coach operators in Ireland, which carry over 75 million passengers per year and support more than 11,000 jobs.

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