The Chairman of Clare Bus says its board may be forced to pull the plug on the company today.
Ger Hoey says the company has been placed in a difficult position financially, in the wake of a decision by the National Transport Authority to put the contract for its routes out to tender, instead of renewing their direct contract.
While this process continues, the NTA is providing funding to Clare Bus to continue its services, but the company says it’s simply not enough and it could now be forced to close its doors.
2019 has proven a challenging year for Clare Accessible Transport, with a shadow of doubt hanging over its Clare Bus services for a number of months now.
In April, it lost the contract for the coordination of its services, but until now it has been continuing to operate the buses themselves
That’s now under question, however, after the National Transport Authority decided to put the contract for the delivery of the bus services out to public tender in the New Year.
At the time of this announcement, the NTA did insist that they’d continue to fund the service as an interim measure, but Clare Bus says that funding falls short of what they’ve received to date under their contract.
They also say it’s not enough to keep buses on the road.
The situation is so serious, that a board meeting today could see them decide to end Clare Bus services altogether.
The Chairman of Clare Accessible Transport is Ger Hoey.
Transport Minister Shane Ross met with representatives of Clare Bus on his visit to Clare last week.
Minister Ross stated that he can’t order the NTA to reverse their decision or interfere in the process but did say he would raise it with them.
Clare TDs have been making the case on behalf of Clare Bus also, though it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to provide a lifeline for the service.
Statement from the National Transport Authority
“The National Transport Authority has been advised by Clare Bus of its financial difficulty and is working with Clare Bus to seek to maintain the delivery of the current suite of rural transport services for this month and next.
“NTA has decided that going forward these service will be put out to tender on a route-by-route basis, rather than being awarded under a Direct Award contract.
“This tender process is due to commence shortly.”