Tuesday 21 November 2017

Minister wrote angry letter over 'doomed' transport plan

Independent Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Independent Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A cabinet minister has written to the National Transport Authority (NTA) claiming "no effort is being made" to make bus routes viable.

Independent Minister Denis Naughten penned an angry letter on January 11, in which he claimed the approach being taken by the parties involved in securing the future of Bus Éireann was "doomed to fail".

The correspondence, seen by the Irish Independent, said: "I'm frustrated by the fact that there has been a failure to develop a joined-up approach to not only supporting the existing network, but to actually increasing passenger numbers.

"The fundamental problem is that if we look at Expressway services, or any other public transport service, in isolation, then outside of the main urban centres it is doomed to fail."

He added it was "frustrating" that for 20 years people have been talking about the need for joined-up thinking between all State and community agencies "but nothing seems to be happening".

"That's because it's everybody's problem and nobody's problem," he wrote.

To illustrate his point, Mr Naughten said last year Knock Airport "dramatically increased" its passenger numbers but Bus Éireann "is looking at reducing services to the airport, not expanding them".

A spokesperson for Mr Naughten said he has also raised his concerns with Transport Minister Shane Ross.

Irish Independent

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