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Minister Ross must protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network – Adams

1 February, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has said the Minister for Transport needs to engage with all stakeholders to find a resolution to the current crisis at Bus Éireann.

Calling for an increase in funding for the Free Travel Scheme, he said that the Minister’s aim must be to “ensure we find a way to protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network”.

Teachta Adams said:

“The management of Bus Éireann have recently announced measures that threaten the rights of bus workers. By slashing overtime and Sunday rates and cutting pay, management is forcing the issue to an industrial dispute. This race to the bottom when it comes to workers’ pay and conditions is completely unacceptable.

“A huge amount of people, particularly in rural Ireland, rely on Bus Éireann services. They are the young, the old, the poor, the rural dweller, the tourist.

“It is possible with good management, by listening to transport users and workers and taking on board what they have to say, to create a service which will attract more people to use public transport.

“That should be the Government’s position. It is not the position of the Minister for Transport Shane Ross. He has a responsibility to ensure the future sustainability of Bus Éireann.

“There are a range of decisions he could take, including a full review of the Expressway service, a review of loss making routes on which private carriers currently operate and a review of the number of private licenses issued on these routes.

“There should also be an increase in funding for the Free Travel Pass. As it currently stands, the amount allocated covers just 41% of the cost of the average journey. This has contributed significantly to losses at Expressway.

“The Minister needs to provide clarity regarding routes and services that have been identified for potential closure and he needs to engage with all of the stakeholders immediately in order to prevent serious travel disruption.

“His aim must be to ensure that together we find a way to protect, preserve and enhance our public transport network.

“So, I would urge the Taoiseach to ensure that Minister Ross engages with all stakeholders, including the Department of Transport, the National Transport Authority, Bus Éireann and the unions to find a resolution to this issue without delay.” 

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