Speaking during Questions on Promised Legislation, Deputy Lowry outlined to the
Tanaiste, Leo Varadkar, that the Government’s policy of excluding commercial bus
operators from 20% reduction in public transport fares and from the Youth Travel
Card scheme, is having a detrimental impact on the sector.
‘If you live in an urban area you will get a 20% discount on your bus fares and you
will be able to use your Youth Travel card. If you do not live on a Bus Eireann
route you’ll pay full fares. Rural passengers are being penalised in their pocket,
which is adding to their cost of living crisis. This is wrong, unreasonable,
inequitable and unfair’ said Deputy Lowry.
He added ‘School Transport providers stated last week that due to increased fuel
costs their businesses have become non-viable. They cannot guarantee the
continued provision of school transport up to June. A further disruption to schools
must be avoided’
In response the Tanaiste said that commercial services, which are not funded by
the State, are not included the reduced fares scheme and it is not possible for
Government to intervene in that case. However, he said he would discuss the
point raised by Deputy Lowry in relation to the VAT reduction with the Minister
for Finance who will contact the Deputy directly.