Blackrock based Halpenny Travel have backed the ‘Fare is Fair’ campaign launched by the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC).
The campaign hits out at “300 routes and thousands of bus passengers” which they say are being excluded from the government’s 20% fare reduction scheme.
CTTC Chairperson John Halpenny said: “The decision to exclude commercial bus operators from the 20% fare reduction scheme is one which is adversely impacting the future of Ireland’s national transport network, while raising serious questions around the fairness of such an inequitable policy.”
He added: “CTTC members - the majority of whom are family-owned businesses, operating on regional routes - will never be in a position to replicate the type of discounts that are being made available to passengers using PSO-funded services. This is why we took the decision to commission a crucial economic report, and launch the ‘Fare is Fair’ campaign”.
A new report, commissioned by the CTTC, and written by leading economist, Jim Power, has called for “the immediate inclusion of commercial bus operators in the 20% fare reduction scheme that has recently been implemented across State-funded public transport services."
The reduction came into effect across public transport services in the Greater Dublin Area last month and will remain in place until the end of this year. The reduction has been applied to a number of public transport services, to include; Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland, Bus Éireann and Transport for Ireland (TFI) Local Link services.
The CTTC launched the ‘Fare is Fair’ campaign which calls for “an end to the fare inequity.”
The representative body contends that the decision to exclude CBOs from the scheme is "creating a two-tier transport system, and unfairly discriminates against its thousands of passengers - the majority of whom are based in regional and rural areas, where public transport options are limited.”
The report, titled ‘Unfair Treatment of Customers of Commercial Bus Companies in Ireland’ says that in the event that CBOs are squeezed out of the market, it is the State who will incur the full cost of replacing these services.
Blackrock based John Halpenny said that the “exclusionary policy” has now placed the private coach industry at a competitive disadvantage.
"This is at a time when soaring costs are already threatening to derail the industry. Inflation, labour shortages, rising insurance fees and spiraling fuel costs have put untold pressure on an industry which is still grappling with the financial repercussions of Covid-19.”