CORK politicians have expressed anger about the curtailment of inter-city bus routes across the country, that will significantly affect the rebel county with the end of the Dublin - Cork route
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan should challenge any decision to axe Bus Éireann routes connecting Dublin to Cork, Limerick and Galway and to "indefinitely suspend" the connection from Dublin to Belfast.
“Eamon Ryan is the minister in charge, the Green Party promoted themselves at the General Election as the champion of public transport. But Eamon is Minister a mere three months and here he is standing over the slashing of bus routes between all of our big cities.”
The routes are expected to be axed in early 2021 after Covid-19 support payments to the company from the state expire in January.
The Cork North Central TD said that Bus Éireann shouldn't "walk off the pitch and leave the lucrative intercity routes to the private operators".
Mr Barry said that the for-profit operators all walked off the pitch during the Lockdown between March and July leaving Bus Éireann as the only supplier of an essential service to the community.
"I think a lot of opposition can bubble up in the space of the next three months. Minister Ryan and the board of Bus Éireann might say that their decision is irreversible now but let's see what they say when the opposition begins to emerge and communities begin to get organised."
Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns will be raising the issue with the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan on behalf of her party and Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer called on Bus Eireann to come before the Oireachtas Transport Committee to discuss the matter.
“The signal by Bus Éireann that they are looking at ceasing inter-city expressway services, is very worrying and deeply disappointing.
“It’s a poor decision by Bus Éireann, public transport is vital, we still need interconnectivity and links between our urban cities and major routes are now needed more than ever.”
In a statement, the company said the decision, which was announced on Monday, following a board meeting, is "in response to significant medium-term challenges posed by Covid-19 in order to safeguard Expressway’s remaining 14 national routes and meet demand required on other city and commuter services".
"The X51 service from Galway to Limerick and the X1 service Dublin to Belfast have not been in receipt of emergency funding and services will formally cease on these routes over the next few months.
"The National Transport Authority is responsible for transport connectivity and will review requirements along these routes to mitigate any impact," the statement continued.