THE PROPOSALS TO cut almost 100 Bus Éireann services have been met with widespread criticism from opposition parties and trade unions.
The company has decided to cut some services between Dublin and the south and southeast and it’s also reviewing some of its Expressway services.
Plans are underway to reschedule the number of stops serviced on the route 7 (Dublin to Cork), and also the removal of route 5 (Dublin – New Ross – Waterford). Bus Éireann said:
Some of the routes on our Expressway network are incurring significant losses and are unsustainable in an increasingly competitive environment, for the business.
“These services are self-funded and not related to the services we operate under our Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract, for the State.”
Fianna Fáil described the plans as ‘an alarming step backwards for rural Ireland’.
The party’s Transport Spokesperson Timmy Dooley said the loss of vital transport links to Dublin will leave many rural communities even more isolated.
“Any attempt to leave communities without any public transport links to the capital must be resisted.”
He added that Bus Éireann plays an important role by providing rural communities with regular access to our towns and cities.
This has to be about more than just budgets. Bus Éireann is funded by the taxpayer and it has a public responsibility to serve all communities across the country.
While Sinn Féin Councillor Kathleen Funchion said, ”These cuts by Bus Éireann are a direct result of years of underfunding of public transport services.
The three routes which service 15 towns and villages, that will now no longer have a service, are important links for the public for commuting as well as for leisure.
“Bus Éireann is an essential part of our public transport network and provide good quality service to a huge number of towns and villages that would otherwise be isolated and only reached with private cars.”
The General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union Dermot O’Leary said,
The irony of today’s announcement is that those charged with providing public transport, namely the National Transport Authority, who are, it would appear, issuing licences in the full knowledge that Bus Éireann will be forced to react by withdrawing from rural towns to compete with those who are granted these licences.
Bus Eireann Jobs
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, said, “Jobs will also be lost in Bus Éireann and if services are restored a private company will provide them, ensuring inferior employment conditions for workers.
He added: “At present Bus Éireann is at a disadvantage when competing against a private operator on a route as it provides a pension provision for workers and cannot operate below cost.
This unfair position is just one of the many issues facing our members in the public transport sector.
“Our members in Bus Éireann have already contributed to the survival of the company by agreeing major changes to their terms and conditions of employment.”