Clarity Called on Who Sets Bus and Rail Fares

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Councillors have sought clarification on who sets the fares for the bus and rail network, among ongoing calls for a review of tariffs across the County.

On the Route 40 service from Cork to Waterford, a return bus fare from Dungarvan to Cork city (75km) costs €9.50 - half the cost of the same journey from Youghal to Cork City (48km) €19.

A similar anomaly exists in the Irish Rail pricing structure where a return fare from Carrigtwohill to the City costs €7 adult return, while Glounthaune –which is 3 miles away, costs €5.50.

Cllr James O’Connor raised the matter under Any Other Business at Monday’s full Sitting of Cork County Council.

The Fianna Fail Cllr, who is battling for a fair deal for Bus Eireann passengers in East Cork said contrary to public comment made by Bus Eireann, the National Transport Authority (NTA), told a recent Transport Committee Hearing, that bus fares in Cork County were set by Bus Eireann.

However, at a recent Sitting of the East Cork Municipal District Tim O'Leary, Bus Eireann’s Southern Regional Manager, told Cllrs that he was unable to rectify the variance in the fare structure.

Mr O’Leary said, while all residents in East Cork pay higher tariffs, the NTA has the power to bring balance to the network.

He said the Company was allowed to offer promotional fares on the Expressway service, but not on the routes controlled by NTA.

Cllr Susan McCarthy said Councillors “were grossly misled if it is the case that the NTA do not have a remit [in setting fares] and it was bus Eireann to start with.”

Fellow Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry said he, also, had a similar issue with Irish Rail fares.

He said “there is a ridiculous situation in Carrigtwohill where you have almost an empty car park because it’s less than half the price to travel from Glounthaune.”

The Carrigtwohill based Cllr added “if you want to encourage people to use public transport, a bit of common sense needs to prevail.”

The only ‘shanks mare’ Councillor on Cork County Council, Noel Collins, said the Director of Consumer Affairs should also deal with the complaint.

An online petition seeking better fares for East Cork bus passengers, has hit almost 1500 signatures

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