South Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath has expressed his shock at the Government’s ability to find €36m to pump into the CIE Group while it continues to cut funding for Rural Transport Schemes, Hospitals, Education and other vital services.
“It is beyond belief that €36m can be found to pump into this monopoly when funding can’t be found for other vital services. The CIE Group cited falling passenger numbers as a reason for being in financial difficulty, however, I believe that they should be made to get their house in order before this cash injection is handed over.” said McGrath
Deputy McGrath stated that the high fares and unavailability of rail and bus services along with CIE’s lack of a successful marketing campaign to increase awareness of the services available and to encourage customers to use the services are among the main reasons for the declining passenger numbers.
“If we take Clonmel for example, one would hardly know that there is a train station in the town, let alone, what time services are available. I have been saying this for years that CIE must implement a marketing campaign with special offers to increase awareness and to encourage rail and bus travel. Simple economics should tell them that a drop in the price of fares would increase their passenger numbers but this group don’t seem to be interested and why would they when they will be given a huge cash injection when they get into difficulty.” continued McGrath
“The Rural Transport providers such as Ring a Link who are providing a wonderful service and helping to reduce rural isolation are not been given this cash injection despite the need to increase services since Bus Éireann have cut so many of their routes in rural areas so it is high time that CIE get their house in order. It is unacceptable that they should be given a cash injection when they have made little or no effort to increase their passenger numbers.” Concluded McGrath