Web campaign to 'Save the Patton Flyer'

 

A CAMPAIGN to “Save the Patton Flyer”, a private bus service operating an unlicensed route between Dublin airport and Dalkey, has been launched on Facebook, with supporting videos also posted on YouTube.

Company director Trevor Patton has also said he intends to use the courts to challenge a decision by the Department of Transport to award a licence for the route to rival bus company Aircoach.

The Patton Flyer has aroused passionate opinions since its decision in mid-July 2007 to start operations without a route licence, citing impatience with the decision-making process in the Department of Transport.

The “flyer” operates an hourly service from 4am.

On YouTube, singer William Byrne sings songs of praise to the Patton Flyer at a gig in the Eagle House pub in Glenageary, one of the stops along the route.

Mr Byrne’s song recalls a time when customers had to pay €50 for a taxi to travel the route. The Patton Flyer charge is €8 one way or €14 return.

However, the website boards.ie has carried critical comments, with some commentators remarking that those who do not obey the rules should not be rewarded with a licence.

The Department of Transport said it received an application for the route from Aircoach in advance of the application from the Patton Flyer.

Mr Patton told The Irish Times the department’s assertion that his company had applied in February 2007 was incorrect.

He said he had applied in June 2006 and insisted that documents released by the department to him under the Freedom of Information Act could demonstrate this.

Aircoach said all media inquiries should be addressed to the managing director Alan Parker.

However, he was not available at the weekend and was in meetings all day yesterday and could not be interrupted.

The Department of Transport said it would be making no new comment on the dispute for the time being.

Mr Patton said he was consulting his legal advisers about the issue and intended to seek a judicial review of the department’s decision.

Mr Patton said he had invested €500,000 in staff, bus and insurance costs. He also held a bus operator’s licence and rejected the description of the Patton Flyer as an “illegal” service.