A free scheme to help people with disabilities or additional needs use public transport on their own terms is being extended to Cork City.
Bus Éireann and the National Transport Authority (NTA) confirmed today that the Transport for Ireland (TFI) Travel Assistance Scheme, which has operated in Dublin since 2008, will be available to bus and rail passengers in Cork from September 1.
The scheme makes travel assistants available to help people with disabilities or additional needs plan their bus or rail journey, and then travel with them on the bus and train service.
Travel assistants will be available for customers on Bus Éireann’s Cork City services and on Irish Rail’s commuter services from September 1, and the service will be extended to services on Local Link Cork, the scheme is funded by the NTA.
While the service is free of charge and available to customers aged 18 and over, it is only available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Under the scheme, an assistant can accompany passengers who need help using public transport and can give advice on how to plan their journey.
NTA chief executive, Anne Graham, said she was happy to announce the extension of a scheme which aims to give people with disabilities the confidence to use public transport.
“The NTA are committed to improving the accessibility of bus services across Ireland and we believe that the extension of the TFI Travel Assistance Scheme to Cork will provide an opportunity for those who are not currently confident enough to use public transport, to do so in the future,” she said.
Bus Éireann’s chief customer officer, Allen Parker, said the company is delighted to support the extension of the service to Cork.
“We are committed to the provision of a fully accessible public transport system and all buses operating on our Cork City services are fully accessible,” he said.
“We believe that the TFI Travel Assistance Scheme will help our passengers in Cork connect with who and what matters to them and our newly recruited travel assistants will be on-hand Monday to Friday to support our passengers."
According to the most recent Census, 18.1% of the population of Cork City are living with a disability, the highest percentage in the state.
The TFI Travel Assistance Scheme is one of a number of NTA initiatives to improve accessibility to public transport in Ireland, including investment in fully accessible vehicles on urban PSO bus services and accessible bus stop infrastructure.
The scheme in Cork will be available to passengers from Thursday, September 1 by calling 0818 083 6611 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.