Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke today called on Minister Eamon Ryan to clarify the funding situation for key public transport services.
The Meath East TD’s comments come as reports in the media suggest an additional €460 million is being sought for the remainder of 2020 for public transport, while Bus Éireann have signalled their intention to cut important Expressway routes due to financial restraints.
Speaking this evening, Teachta O’Rourke said: “Reports in the media today suggest that the National Transport Authority has warned the Minister for Transport that €460 million extra will be needed to fund public transport until the end of 2020.
“Certainty is urgently required here, for the thousands of employees in Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, but also for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who rely on their services each day.
“The previous Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, told the Dáil in June that he brought a memo to cabinet seeking an additional €460 million for public transport provision in 2020.
“Minister Ryan needs to now clarify if this funding has already run out, whether hundreds of millions extra will be now be needed for the remainder of 2020, and how the original calculations in June were so far out if this is the case.
“In addition, Bus Éireann today signalled they will be cutting key inter-city routes due to the financial restraints.
“These inter-city bus routes are vitally important for workers and those travelling between our main cities. Simply scrapping them cannot be an option.
“Minister Eamon Ryan needs to intervene urgently to ensure Bus Éireann has adequate funding to maintain these important routes.
“It’s unacceptable that a sustainable funding plan hasn’t been put in place for our public transport network during the ongoing pandemic.
“We can’t continue to limp from one crisis to another in this area. I’ll be asking the Transport Committee on Wednesday to invite the Minister in as soon as possible to answer questions on this.”