Bus Éireann unaware how many disabled passengers left at the side of the road in 2017 – Munster
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has today expressed serious concern that bus companies are not compiling data regarding the number of complaints received from members of the public who are unable to access their services, due to a lack of access on public transport services for people with disabilities.
At a meeting on 17th January of the Joint Committee on Transport, Deputy Munster questioned representatives of public transport carriers, seeking clarity on the number of passengers who are unable to access public transport on an annual basis.
Deputy Munster was especially concerned that Bus Éireann does not appear to keep a record of wheelchair users who have been unable to access bus services. At the meeting, Deputy Munster asked Mr Ray Hernan, Acting CEO of Bus Éireann, how many disabled passengers had been left at the side of the road in 2017. Despite being promised that these figures would be furnished after the meeting, they have not, to date, been received.
Deputy Munster said:
“I was very surprised that the Acting CEO of Bus Éireann was unable to provide detail on the number of passengers unable to access their services, despite the fact that he was attending a Transport Committee meeting on that very subject. It is alarming that not only did he not have the statistics to hand, but that a week later he has not send them to the Committee. I have concerns that Bus Éireann do not keep a record of the number of people who have been let down by their services.
“I have dealt with several constituents of mine who use wheelchairs and have, on many occasions, been let down by their local service. This has a serious negative effect on their ability to work, access services, and be active in their community.
“Bus Éireann have said that they are doing everything they can to improve the situation, but if they do not take the trouble to quantify the problem you’d have to question just how serious their commitment is to tackle this issue.
“I have written to the Oireachtas Transport Committee seeking an update on this matter. The lack of follow-through by Bus Éireann management is unacceptable and is symptomatic of the wider problems at the company when it comes to accessibility on Bus Éireann services.”