Budget 2023: The Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) is calling on Government to enhance Quality Bus Corridors and introduce ‘Park and Ride’ facilities to reduce dependency on private vehicles and encourage greater uptake in public transport.
The Coach Tourism & Transport Council has cited Budget 2023 as an opportunity to mobilise the private bus and coach network, by investing in sustainable transport projects. The CTTC notes that its members remain committed to helping reduce carbon emissions across transport and reduce dependency on single-occupancy private vehicles. A target of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from transport by 2030 was recently agreed by the Government as part of the Sectoral Emissions Ceilings.
Some of the key proposals outlined in the CTTC’s pre-Budget 2023 submission to the Department of Finance include calls to:
- Enhance the allocation of funding under the Alternatively Fuelled Heavy Duty Vehicle Purchase Grant Scheme
- Establish a designated Scrappage Scheme to facilitate commercial bus operators to transition to alternatively fuelled vehicles
- Enhance the current network of Quality Bus Corridors along the arterial routes into major cities
- Provide affordable ‘Park and Ride’ facilities in strategic regional locations and commuter towns
In the face of economic and environmental challenges arising from the current fuel and energy crises, the representative body’s submission highlights the need for an efficient, reliable public transport network that remains affordable for passengers, and which helps to support national efforts on sustainability. Over the last number of months, the CTTC has highlighted the commitment of its members to improving the energy efficiency of their fleets and making the transition to low or zero-carbon alternatives. Currently, over half of CTTC members’ fleets are less than five years’ old and are fully compliant with the Euro 6 directive on emissions – and the CTTC is keen to build on this progression.
The representative body contends that Government’s adoption of the proposals outlined in the submission will help to enhance the commuter experience. Introducing ‘Park and Ride’ facilities and enhancing Quality Bus Corridors will incentivise passengers to use public transport, and in turn, alleviate traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions, and shorten average journey times. The CTTC further asserts that the implementation of its proposals will help to send a strong “pro-public transport” message to the general population, at a time when consumer confidence in public transport has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
John Halpenny, commenting, Chairperson of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland, said:“Budget 2023 presents a unique opportunity to inject much-needed investment into our public transport network and create a standard of service provision that will boost consumer confidence in public transport and reduce dependency on private, single-occupancy vehicles. If climate targets are to be met, we need to adopt a broader definition of public transport – one which leverages the full potential of private bus and coach services. As an industry, we are committed to adopting sustainable practices, and CTTC members possess some of the most environmentally compatible fleets available on the market today. We remain determined to build on this progress and feel that now is the opportune time for the Government to begin working in meaningful collaboration with the private bus and coach sector, to ensure that the ambitious target of 50% carbon emissions reductions in transport by 2030 is achieved, and possibly exceeded.
The reality is that commuters will flock to public transport if they feel that the passenger experience surpasses that of using a private vehicle. Introducing ‘Park and Ride’ facilities, enhancing our network of Quality Bus Corridors and improving the overall efficiency of existing vehicles will help to lessen average journey times and ease traffic pressures – while significantly reducing carbon output. A single coach has the potential to take 40 cars off the road – and even a 10% reduction in peak period car usage will cut urban CO2 emissions by 14,500 tonnes per annum. In light of this, and many other factors, I strongly urge the Government to take heed of our proposals.”