Free travel scheme solution possible - CTTCMonday 30 June 2014 14.25
The National Director of the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland, has said he is optimistic that a solution can be reached, to address concerns that the free travel pass scheme is not covering the costs of transport companies who operate it.
Companies claim the scheme is not covering the cost of the service, which allows pass-holders to travel free on State-funded transport, as well as with 90 private operators.
Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Kevin Traynor said there had been a four year period where there had been no increase in revenues from the scheme for providers.
However, he said there had been a substantial increase in costs, including in parts, wages and fuel.
He said taking into account applicants and carers, there was in the region of 1.1 million people using the scheme at the moment.
Mr Traynor said if revenues remained static, costs did not, and it would not be viable for companies to operate services.
"You've had a four-year period where there has been no increase in the revenues and there has been substantial increases in costs in terms of parts, wages, fuel etc," he said.
"With applicants and carers there's in the region of 1.1 million using the actual scheme at the moment. It cannot go on indefinitely as it is at the moment."
He said there was a review under way by an interdepartmental working group.
Mr Traynor said his organisation was currently meeting the Department of Social Protection to discuss the issue.
He said he would be optimistic that a solution could be arrived at if all parties engaged realistically.