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National Issue Stalls Kinsale's New Bus Service

While the No. 226 public bus service is operating in Kinsale, the town’s travelling public may have to wait indefinitely until private operators are satisfied that they are offered the same level playing field as public transport. A new privately operated route was due to start in January but hasn’t commenced .

Writes JJ Hurley

The disquiet has arisen among those service providers following the introduction by the National Transport Authority on the previous bank holiday to allow leap cardholders to bring an additional customer for free on public services only.

Ariel view of Kinsale

Expressing his concern at any advantage offered to public transport, David Conway, Vice Chairperson, Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC), said, 'The CTTC contends that such anti-competitive measures, which the Irish taxpayer is funding, demonstrate a casual disregard for commercial bus operators and their customers.'

Mr Conway also suggested that further plans by the government to reduce public transport fares and actively exclude private operators from these schemes unconscionably distorts the market, enabling State-funded services to engage in a monopoly.

'By offering the type of discounts that family-owned, private transport companies could never compete with,' Mr Conway added.

In response to the concerns raised by the CTTC, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said, 'The National Transport Authority (NTA) has the statutory responsibility for the regulation of fares in relation to public passenger transport services. In addition, it has statutory responsibility for the provision of public transport in respect of services that are socially necessary but commercially unviable (via public transport services contracts).

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