Bus Éireann, transport and rural life

 

Sir, – It’s sad hearing about the difficulties at Bus Éireann and the threats to services. The solution would appear to be an increased subvention to enable the company to be financially viable. I and, I imagine, many pensioners would be very happy to pay the Government an annual contribution for our free travel, say €50 per annum, provided the money raised was diverted to Bus Éireann to ensure that services continue to be available to those living in rural towns and villages. – Yours, etc,

ROSE MARY LOGUE,

Dublin 14.

A chara, – Given the very real concerns for rural life in Ireland, it is unfortunate that political ideology is being allowed to drive another nail into the coffin of our public transport network.

The proliferation of licences that have been issued to private operators so as to offer “competition” to Bus Éireann Expressway has led to unsustainable seat capacity on routes all over the country.

As well as that, in attempting to compete with these private operators, Expressway is being hampered by the service it provides. Take, for example, the Dublin to Waterford route. The terminus bus stops of both Expressway and the private operator are practically co-located. Expressway, however, makes nine intermediate stops en-route, whereas the private bus service only makes two stops. It’s fair to say that providing a service to those towns between Dublin and Waterford comes at a commercial cost to Expressway. It would be a shame if commercial necessity forced that company to abandon those towns in favour of a faster, inter-city service.

At some point, something is going to have to give; either a public service transport network will have to be properly funded by this State or rural life in Ireland will have to die a slow death.

That funding, however, should not come from the pockets of the drivers. That would effectively be asking the workers to subsidise the profits of the shareholders in private transport operators.

The ideology of “profit is king” will have to be set aside when it comes to public transport. – Is mise,

SIMON O’CONNOR,

Crumlin,

Dublin 12.