Green Party support NBRUs call for fare-free public transport fares during Covid-19 crisis

21st April, 2020

Following the call by the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) that Ireland should introduce fare-free public transport fares for the duration of the coronavirus emergency the Green Party has urged the Government to follow the example set by Transport for London.

From today, 21 April, buses in the British capital city of London are free to use, a measure introduced in an effort to protect drivers from contracting the coronavirus.

London based travellers will not be required to “touch in” with their payment card or device in order to prevent passengers approaching the drivers cab.

Speaking about the potential to look at introducing similar measures, Joe O’Brien, Green Party Spokesperson for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said:

“Across the Country in towns villages, big cities, we have bus drivers who are very much at the front line putting themselves at risk ensuring that other essential workers get from A to B in the battle against this crisis and that needs to be acknowledged and I support the NBRUs call for an exploration of how we could go fare-less in a lot of those services. Bus Éireann Expressway, for example, services every single hospital in the country.”

“In Ireland we have a critical issue of cash based public transport. I think this measure to introduce fare-less public transport is particularly crucial for Bus Éireann services because a lot of these services are cash based. This is problematic from the point of view of the health of the bus driver and passengers, our efforts in stopping the spread of Covid-19 and also from the point of view of the viability of these services in the future and these vital transport services need to be retained. So yes, I think there is a strong case to be made for making a significant portion of public transport services free at the moment.”

The NBRU have stated that a similar scheme to the one introduced by TfL in London should be considered for Ireland and have called on the National Transport Authority and the Minister for Transport, to make a decision on the matter.