Eamon Ryan says there will be no gaps in Irish bus network after Bus Éireann cuts inter-city services
“We can’t leave a town behind.”
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said that any gaps in Ireland’s bus network caused by Bus Éireann’s decision to halt a number of its inter-city services will not go unfilled.
On Monday, it was revealed that Bus Éireann plans to cease Expressway services between Dublin and Cork, Dublin and Galway and Dublin and Limerick, while the Dublin to Belfast service is to be suspended indefinitely.
The move has prompted fears that passengers along the affected routes will be deprived of services as a result, but the Transport Minister has pledged to fill any gaps caused on the network as a result, saying: “We can’t leave a town behind.”
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday, Ryan said that the responsibility of filling any gaps on the network lies with the National Transport Authority (NTA).
“In any routes that are changed, if there are towns left out, we’re saying to the National Transport Authority, you have to look to make sure there isn’t a gap in their service, we can’t leave a town behind,” Ryan said.
“If, as I said, in the change to the Bus Eireann inter-city commercial service, there is any towns which don’t have a proper service, then it is possible, I will ask the National Transport Authority, using the public service obligation system, to make sure that those gaps are closed.”
Ryan added that the government has committed to proving an additional €460 million to the public transport sector this year, on top of €300 million already allocated, and said that a similar level of funding will be available next year.
“The government is absolutely clear, we’re supporting it,” Ryan said.
“There’s an additional… on top of the €300 million public service obligation which is ordinarily given to our bus companies and our public transport companies, the government is this year providing an additional €460 million. There will be no shortage of similar such funding next year to make sure that we do maintain a public transport service.
“So, yes this is very difficult, there’s a huge problem for all transport companies – aviation as well as public transport - but the government is standing by those companies.
“This was an issue for Bus Éireann looking at where can it actually best address new demand and best deploy its resources rather than, in my mind, any direction from government saying there was a difficulty around financial support, that wasn’t the case.”