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Unread 21-06-2018, 07:44   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default [article] Calls for Robert Watt to be fired after suggesting ban on free bus holders

https://www.independent.ie/irish-new...-37032725.html

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A Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting has heard calls for Public Expenditure and Reform secretary general Robert Watt to be sacked.

Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer told the meeting Mr Watt should be sacked for suggesting people who hold free bus passes should be banned from using public transport during rush hour.
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Unread 21-06-2018, 13:01   #2
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The Indo is running a story about a suggestion from a senior civil servant that some peak-hour limitations be put on the use of the FTP: https://www.independent.ie/irish-new...-37032725.html

Let me state an interest: I am the holder of a FTP for seniors. However the over-the-top reaction from politicians is woeful. Provision of "free" travel outside peak hours costs operators almost nothing. Peak hours are an entirely different matter. Failure to recognise this and resorting to abusive comments about the civil servant (Robert Watt) shows what cowards we have in politics.

The minister for transport (a Mr Shane Ross, in case you thought he was minister for justice) also waxed indignant about the matter. He should know that failure of his department and also the dept of social protection to have a proper level of support for the FTP scheme is the main source of the problem. As far as I am aware, the allocation to the CIE group of companies is a lump sum, which has been constant or reducing for years (it may have increased in 2017/8). This is no way to run the scheme, which should reward providers on a usage basis.

This is the first thing I have seen Ross say about public transport for ages. Show what a poor minister he is, even by the undemanding standards of Irish politics.
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Unread 21-06-2018, 13:04   #3
Mark Gleeson
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If all we did was to remove the companion pass and only issue it when medically needed (i.e. cannot travel without) it would clean things up

The whole scheme is a mess
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Unread 21-06-2018, 16:37   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACustomer View Post
Let me state an interest: I am the holder of a FTP for seniors. However the over-the-top reaction from politicians is woeful. Provision of "free" travel outside peak hours costs operators almost nothing. Peak hours are an entirely different matter.
The big question mark I would have about withdrawing at Peak hours is regarding FTP holders who are attending appointments, especially medical appointments. This is getting even more of an issue as specialist treatment gets more concentrated into a small number of hospitals (I honestly wouldn't be surprised if in my lifetime the list is down to three in Dublin plus CUH) and people have to travel from around the country to attend. We can't really deny Peak travel to those who are going to necessary, possibly lifesaving, appointments. Now you could put in place an exemption for those who have documentary proof of an appointment, but the system gets bureaucratic and the costs may exceed the saivings from such a scheme.
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Unread 21-06-2018, 17:48   #5
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I don't think there is even a point to start thinking about doing this,

Keep it very very simple
1. If you have a state pension of any type you get free travel
2. No companions unless medical need (i.e. must be accompanied and the pass is invalid unless accompanied) this is a serious issue currently
3. Anyone with has a disability or life long medical condition (this needs careful definition)
4. Transport providers get full commercial value paid by the state, less a discount of 10-15%
5. No passes issued for any other reason, no weird rules, no exceptions.
6. Only PSC card will be accepted
7. Immediate cancellation/suspension of pass in the event the pass holder in any way breaks the conditions or is in breach of any bye laws

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 21-06-2018 at 17:53.
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Unread 25-06-2018, 10:40   #6
James Howard
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On the medical appointment issue, I'd suggest that the HSE should issue a public transport voucher with every medical appointment that is entirely separate from the Free Travel scheme.

This way, they would be forced to properly consider the full economic cost of centralisation of services. At the moment, a lot of their savings are simply pushing costs onto either CIE or the patients.
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Unread 25-06-2018, 11:35   #7
Thomas J Stamp
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any medical appointment i got (or relations) seesm to be about 9 or 10 am, so the FTP is needed then.


there is another solution which the TD's are avoiding - increase capacity, including BAC. BAC are being forced by the NTA to replace their fleet with buses of lower capacity as well as hand over buses to Go Ahead. Madness.
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Unread 25-06-2018, 12:29   #8
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Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp View Post
any medical appointment i got (or relations) seesm to be about 9 or 10 am, so the FTP is needed then.


there is another solution which the TD's are avoiding - increase capacity, including BAC. BAC are being forced by the NTA to replace their fleet with buses of lower capacity as well as hand over buses to Go Ahead. Madness.
Just to clarify that DB are receiving a replacement vehicle for every bus transferred to Go Ahead - these will expand the service on routes retained by DB.

The PSO fleet in Dublin will expand by this and the new buses being ordered by the NTA for Go Ahead (appx 100 buses in total) in 2018.
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Unread 25-06-2018, 16:03   #9
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There are provincial and indeed city routes where the only services of the day are at "peak hours" so the argument for restrictions is fundamentally flawed.

The crux of the issue, as I see it, is Mark's point 4 viz. that IÉ are not being remunerated at a fair commercial rate.

James raises an interesting idea about the HSE potentially issuing a public transport voucher.
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Unread 26-06-2018, 16:52   #10
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As far as I am aware, peak hour constraints used apply to Dublin Bus only. In any event, the only serious case for its introduction are for the morning peak on DB, and IE on Dublin Suburban and DART. Provincial services are not as subject to serious and persistent overcrowding.

A question for Mark G. Could you elaborate more on the Companion issue. Is the availability too generous and are there specific abuses which even the politically timid might consider doing something about?
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Unread 26-06-2018, 18:34   #11
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It also used to apply on provincial bus services as a late great-aunt of mine would pay for the first 20 miles or so from Dublin to a particular town and then be able to use her pass the remainder of the journey.
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Unread 26-06-2018, 21:00   #12
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Quote:
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It also used to apply on provincial bus services as a late great-aunt of mine would pay for the first 20 miles or so from Dublin to a particular town and then be able to use her pass the remainder of the journey.
That provincial bus restriction was only on Friday evenings on departures between 16:00 & 19:00 from Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Not exactly unreasonable.

The city bus restrictions applied to Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

No similar rail restrictions.

Last edited by berneyarms : 26-06-2018 at 21:02.
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Unread 27-06-2018, 02:53   #13
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Examiner piece from 2006 when Seamus Brennan opened this can of worms
https://www.irishexaminer.com/irelan...ses-10444.html
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Unread 27-06-2018, 08:13   #14
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dowlingm: from your referenced piece in the Examiner:
Quote:
In addition, he is also talking with his counterparts in Brussels about the possibility of allowing free travel for Irish pensioners travelling within the EU.
(he being Seamus Brennan).

I'm sure other EU governments gave him short shrift on that one!
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