Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on Minister Eamon Ryan to address a gap in the recent public transport fare reduction measures, which has resulted in 17 and 18-year-olds who use private bus operators receiving no reduction in transport fares at all.
The Meath East TD said;
“While the temporary 20% fare reduction and the introduction of the Youth Travel Card are welcome, poor planning has meant young adults who rely on private bus operators have been excluded from both initiatives.
“The 20% fare reduction was never extended to commercial bus operators and while the Youth Travel Card was in recent days, that scheme is only available for those aged 19-23. Meanwhile, full time students over 23 years of age can avail of the Student Leap Card.
“As a result, thousands of 17 and 18-year-old students who just got their Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, and who will now be using private bus operators to commute to work or college, will be forced to pay significantly more than their fellow passengers.
“Private bus operators run a significant number of routes right across the state, with many students using them to commute to college.
“The Minister needs to address this as a matter of urgency. It’s an obvious anomaly and it is unfair.
“This age cohort are facing massive cost-of-living challenges, from college fees to extortionate rental prices and they don’t need higher commuting costs thrown in too.
“It’s imperative we remove as many barriers to using public transport as possible, and cost can be number one for many.
“The Minister should revisit these initiatives and ensure 17 and 18-year-olds are immediately included in the public transport fare reductions.”