Saturday 7 December 2019

Time for Ross to make a decision on Bus Éireann

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins


Over to you, Minister Ross.

Two days before Christmas, the Department of Transport published its Statement of Strategy 2016-2019. The document is a fudge and lists a series of aspirational goals across the sector.

However, there was little in the way of signals of any of the difficult decisions required being taken by Transport Minister Shane Ross.

The next crisis on the minister's table will be the future of Bus Éireann. A consultant's report has recommended the axing of the Expressway inter-city service, rather than restructuring the company.

Jettisoning Expressway completely would be "the most viable option", according to Grant Thornton. The bus service will otherwise have to take drastic measures, including dropping six routes, achieving a profit in its school bus business, and still receive extra state funding.

Unless it can put its commercial business on a sound financial footing, Expressway will go.

The report also reveals the Department of Transport under previous minister Paschal Donohoe asked Bus Éireann managers to prepare a cost-cutting plan "which avoided large scale industrial relations unrest" as its financial difficulties worsened. That plan was rejected due to the exorbitant cost of implementation.

One way or another, the Government and Mr Ross are going to have to make a decision on Bus Éireann, as it provides a vital service to many across the country.

Irish Independent

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