Private bus and coach operators have called for a €32 million financial support package for the sector.
The sector’s representative body, the Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC), said the funds are needed to help them deal with the “drastic impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a submission to the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee, the CTTC also called for the extension of a temporary moratorium on loan repayments and for parity of tax practices between the Republic and Northern Ireland, which would allow the sector to claim back VAT.
Chairman of the CTTC, John Halpenny commented: “The bus and coach sector in Ireland is facing an existential crisis with operators revenues collapsing, members cashflow abruptly cut off, reserves depleted and the prospect of insolvency facing many.
“Our concerns are further compounded by the fact that public confidence is badly shaken by the pandemic so it will take some period of time before we see a degree of normality resume. It appears certain that without significant assistance and intervention from Government, many operators will simply not survive.”
According to the CTTC, there are 1,721 coach operators in Ireland, which carry over 75 million passengers per year, supporting over 11,000 jobs and contributing €400m to the economy.