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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Sam Boal/
# unfare
Private bus companies ask to be included in 20% fare reduction 'as a matter of urgency'
A group representing commercial bus companies has said that they could go out of business as a result of being disadvantaged by cheaper fares on state-owned public transport.

PRIVATE BUS COMPANIES have expressed dismay at their exclusion from the 20% fare reduction on public transport in Dublin, saying it could put their businesses at risk.

The Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) has said that commercial bus operators could go out of business as a result of their exclusion from the new fares, as they are already facing spiralling fuel prices and “unprecedented” increases in operational costs.

The group said it puts their services – many of which are family businesses – at a disadvantage against state-funded public transport bodies. Such businesses could not reduce their own fares by 20% as their margins are already thin, it argued.

It has called for the fare reduction to be applied to private bus networks “as a matter of urgency”, which it says would cost around €23.7 million.

The fare reduction came into effect across public transport services in the Greater Dublin Area today, and will remain in place until the end of this year. The reduction applies to Dublin Bus, Luas, Go-Ahead Ireland, DART and commuter rail services and will remain in place until the end of the year.

The CTTC said that commercial bus operators – which are responsible for more than 31 million journeys per year – fear that they will suffer a loss of patronage as a result of being left out of the reduction.

Its Chairperson John Halpenny said in a press statement: “The decision to actively exclude private operators from this scheme unconscionably distorts the market, and enables State-funded services to engage in a monopoly, by offering the type of discounts that family-owned, private transport companies could never compete with.

“Simply put, this decision risks putting hundreds of operators out of business,” Halpenny said. “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”.

“Ultimately, the cost of including private operators in the scheme is inconsequential, when you consider the financial repercussions of a diminished private bus network and the environmental consequences of a mass return to private, single-occupancy vehicles among disenfranchised rural commuters.”

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