Government help needed to avoid job losses in private coaches, sector says

A spokesperson for the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) has said that if there is government support no jobs will be lost in the sector.

Members of the council will work closely with the government and health authorities to enforce mandatory face coverings on buses, JJ Kavanagh told RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney show.

The industry is very happy at the prospect of going from 20% to 50% capacity next week, but this is not a sustainable figure as 65% to 70% capacity is necessary to break even.

Mr Kavanagh said he thinks the public will comply with the mandatory wearing of face masks, although there will always be exceptions, he warned.

Fares will not be increased, he said, but government support will be necessary for the sector in the medium to long term.

“Our 11,500 employees have been off work since March,” he pointed out.

There are 9,500 vehicles in fleets which provide 75% of public transport in the country and €80m is spent on upgrading those fleets every year, he added.

“With government support there will be no redundancies, we are looking for €175m support in the short term.”

When asked if drivers will stop passengers getting on buses if they are not wearing a face covering, Mr Kavanagh said they would check if the passenger had a medical condition that precluded them from wearing a mask.

Some operators will sell masks on buses, he added.

“I think people will comply, but of course there will be exceptions. We’ve always found people to be compliant when requested by the driver.

The public have a responsibility and duty to comply, in the main people will be compliant and will do the right thing.