A new survey from the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) has shown that 95% of private bus operators cannot guarantee service provision up to June 2022. Spiraling fuel costs, brought about by the disruption in supply from Russia as a consequence of the Ukraine invasion, could now lead to a reduction in services.
The survey offered a bleak insight into the current crisis engulfing the sector, and demonstrated that;
· 95% of school transport providers operators say it is not commercially viable to continue running services up to June 2022, without any subvention/support
· 90% of operators need up to a 35% increase in contract rates to continue to operate their services
· Nearly two-thirds of operators have seen fuel costs increase by more than 50% over the course of the last twelve months
In light of the findings, the CTTC is calling on the Government to urgently implement a temporary VAT reduction on fuel (to 9%) which will help to mitigate the soaring costs and safeguard service provision for regional commuters. 43% of the representative body’s membership identified this measure as their preferred solution.
Chairperson of the CTTC, John Halpenny said “The pandemic dealt a significant blow to the commercial bus and coach industry with the low use of public transport but just as business began to pick up, the impact of the war in Ukraine has resulted in soaring fuel costs. With these historic spikes in prices in a short period of time, school transport providers are seriously struggling to provide services. Fuel is a mission-critical expense for the industry and where we are witnessing exponential growth in costs, it is clear that governmental intervention is urgently required to rescue the sector from failure. To expect the industry to provide the same scheduling for the same pricing against the backdrop of 50-60% increases in fuel is frankly unrealistic, unsustainable and totally unaffordable”.
“Government must recognise there is an existential crisis facing the industry and in the absence of suitable policy intervention, passenger transport connectivity cannot be assured. There is a workable precedence to these challenges that must be seriously considered to get the industry through this significant set-back. Providing a temporary VAT reduction, akin to what was introduced for the hospitality industry, would represent a crucial lifeline to many operators and particularly those operating in the school transport space”.