Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Robert Troy says it’s not acceptable for Minister Shane Ross to continue to take a back seat in addressing the crisis facing Bus Éireann. The semi-state bus company is facing massive losses, with possible Expressway route closures on the cards and now bosses are floating the idea that staff overtime could be cut.
“The importance of the Expressway service cannot be underestimated and all parties must be involved in the process to examine how money can be saved – that includes the Minister for Transport. Minister Ross has been aware of the financial problems at the company for months but has failed to engage with bosses or unions. Now we’re facing a collision course between the management and unions over cost saving measures.
“Reports this weekend suggest that cuts to overtime could be on the cards, which will, no doubt, impact on services. Steps must be taken to ensure that smaller towns and villages do not lose out on essential bus services if routes are overhauled. Rural areas, which have already suffered vastly reduced services, must be protected. A full range of cost saving measures must be considered, but any examination of overtime payments cannot result in cuts to services.
“Minister Ross has once again failed to show any leadership, and this trait is fast becoming the hallmark of his Ministry. Last year we saw serious industrial unrest at LUAS and Dublin Bus, affecting tens of thousands of passengers, as well as the threat of industrial action at Irish Rail. Despite being aware of the financial problems at Bus Éireann, he failed to bring the issue to Cabinet until just before Christmas. Unless Minister Ross wakes up to the problems at Bus Éireann, the public will suffer the consequences once again.
“All parties must come together to work on a viable solution to this escalating financial problem at Bus Éireann. It is vitally important that all suggestions heard and considered so that a plan can be formulated. Minister Ross must engage in this process – it is no longer acceptable for him to offload his responsibilities when there is a crisis on his doorstep.
“Bus Éireann’s future must be protected, and the Minister must work with all of the stakeholders – management, unions, the NTA and the Department of Transport – to come up with a plan to secure the viability of the company”.