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Tag Archives: National Transport Authority

Clare Bus Hope Covid Restrictions Won’t Impact on Tender Plans

LIMITS on the number of passengers who can safely use public transport could have implications for the ability of Clare Bus to tender for nine local transport routes. Earlier this month, the National Transport Authority (NTA) sought Expressions of Interest for the routes, which had been operated by Clare Bus until the end of March. Due to a funding dispute, the Feakle-based accessible transport service lost a total of 12 routes and is hopeful of being able to tender again for nine of them. The chairperson of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT), which trades as Clare Bus, told The Champion the board would have to examine the tender documents in detail before making an application. “We have expressed our interest and the next step is that the NTA will issue nine individual tender calls,” he said. “We expect to receive those this week, but until we look at them, we don’t know exactly what will be required. Once the management team …

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Tendering time frame outlined for nine Clare local transport routes

THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has confirmed that Clare Bus will be eligible to tender for nine local transport routes, while the two parties enter into a mediation process to resolve a dispute over funding. The accessible transport provider has had its fleet parked up since the end of March, which it controversially lost 12 routes to two new providers. Since then, its Feakle-based staff have been paid through the Wage Subsidy Scheme and intensive political efforts to resolve a row over arrears the company says it is owed continue. The NTA has now sought expressions of interest for nine Clare routes and has told The Champion that it estimates that the process of appointing a service provider will be complete by mid-August. Ger Hoey, Chairperson of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT) who operate Clare Bus said he is hopeful that a speedy mediation process will increase its chances of being able to make a competitive tender. “We would prefer to …

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Mediator appointed in dispute between Clare Bus and NTA

THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has agreed to enter talks with Clare Bus in relation to payments the company believes it is owned for providing vital services in rural parts of the county. In correspondence to Deputy Joe Carey, NTA CEO Anne Graham confirmed that the authority has agreed to “enter into a mediation on the amount allegedly outstanding to Clare Bus”. The potential breakthrough in the long-running dispute comes as the NTA also confirmed that nine key local routes are being put out to tender in the coming days. The Fine Gael TD welcomed the positive development and urged Clare Bus to enter the tender process. “Hopefully this will be the beginning of a process that can finally see a resolution to this dispute and I hope the NTA and Clare Bus use the opportunity so this vital service is not lost to the communities it serves,” he said. The row over the payments has become one of the major roadblocks …

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Wheelchair users raise concerns about access to new Local Link services in Clare

A SOUTH Galway wheelchair user has voiced his concern about the accessibility of vehicles on Local Link routes currently, and called on Minister Shane Ross to “cop on” and return the service to Clare Bus. Séamus Ó Donnacha from Kinvara, who works for Clare Crusaders in Barefield, has been using a wheelchair for 15 years, said the nature of the accessible buses currently on the routes removed independence from passengers with disabilities, and literally left them “stuck at the back of the bus”. “To my knowledge, there are some accessible buses in the fleet which are able to cater for wheelchair users,” Mr Ó Donnacha outlined. “Clare Bus had low-floor buses which meant that someone could get straight onto the bus. Now, what we have are vehicles with tail lifts at the back. That means that wheelchair user needs to be helped on board, and they’re left there away from everyone else and can’t interact with others. That’s an upsetting …

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Transport Authority to meet local TDs over future of Clare Bus

A REMOTE meeting is to take place this afternoon (Thursday) between representatives of the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Clare’s four TDs, on the issue of Clare Bus. Deputy Cathal Crowe of Fianna Fáil confirmed that the teleconference will take place, but insisted that that the authority must also meet the operators, Clare Accessible Transport (CAT). “I welcome the offer of the NTA to meet with myself and my county colleagues this week,” said Deputy Crowe. “It will be an opportunity for us to seek some clarity on their plans for Clare Bus, as this saga has been going on for far, far too long now. But I am dismayed to see that they are continuing to refuse to meet representatives of Clare Bus. I have confirmed my attendance at the meeting and have also asked the NTA to arrange a meeting with Clare Bus themselves but will push their case anyway. I fully support Clare Accessible Transport being awarded …

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Plea for mediator in Clare Bus dispute with NTA

THE operators of Clare Bus are making a last-ditch effort to keep the company alive and have called on the National Transport Authority (NTA) to enter into mediation with a view to restoring its routes. At the end of March, following a dispute over funding, the NTA unveiled two new operators on 12 county-wide Local Link routes. Since then, Clare Bus has parked up its fleet and is using the government’s pandemic wage subsidy scheme to pay staff. Chairperson Ger Hoey described Clare Bus as being “cocooned” at the moment, but on stand-by to assist the East Clare Covid-19 Community Response. In a four-page letter to the NTA, seen by The Clare Champion, the board of Clare Accessible Transport (CAT) has asked NTA CEO Anne Graham for more time to sort out the financing row and has proposed that at mediator be appointed. The letter raises issues about financial arrears, the contractual framework and the accessibility of buses currently service …

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Dáil told of ‘loathsome’ timing of Clare Bus contract cut

MINISTER Simon Harris has undertaken to ask the minister for transport to engage with Clare’s Independent TD over the decision of the National Transport Authority (NTA) to terminate the contracts of Clare Bus. It follows an appeal by Deputy Michael McNamara who told fellow Dáil members that the timing of the NTA’s actions had been “loathsome”. “Just as the restrictions were introduced, [Clare Bus] had a contract for Local Link services, which was dropped by the National Transport Authority,” he said. “It’s one thing I think, we would all agree that private companies  shouldn’t use this as a cloak to break bad news and to do very Draconian things to staff members, but when the National Transport Authority does it, I think it’s a particularly loathsome thing to do… And, of course, for the staff who were protesting outside of this house last June, can’t protest. They can’t even protest at home in Clare because effectively, everybody’s locked down… I’ve …

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Clare Bus Join Covid-19 Crisis Reponse

CLARE Bus is continuing to serve the community of East Clare during the Covid-19 crisis, despite the fact that the National Transport Authority (NTA) has appointed alternative operators to its routes under the Local Link scheme. The Feakle-based service has joined the East Clare Covid-19 Community Response Group, saying its drivers have invaluable local knowledge and are ready to help the public as and when required. Following a dispute over funding levels for the accessible local transport service, and despite intensive negotiations involving four of the constituencies TDs, on Friday last, the NTA unveiled new operators on 12 routes previously served by Clare Bus. Three routes have gone to the company ranked in second place in last year’s tendering process, while nine went to another company on an interim basis for three months. Clare Bus had secured all 12 routes in the NTA procurement process at the end of December but declined to sign contracts until it secured an assurance …

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