Finnegan warns customers free travel could end soon
TRAVEL-PASS USERS on Bray's Southern Cross Road fear that they may lose their entitlement to free travel on the only bus that serves their homes.
Eugene Finnegan has written to residents of Bray explaining that his private bus company may be forced to stop accepting passes at the end of April.
The Southern Cross is one of the only areas of Bray not served by Dublin Bus.
‘We receive a very small payment from the Department of Social Protection which in no way compensates us for the numbers travelling on passes,' read the letter sent out last week. ‘In fact they pay us about 46 cents per trip. That is not per person, that's per trip.' The letter also urges residents to lobby their TDs to prevail on the Minis- ter for Social Protection Joan Burton to intervene.
Resident of the area Laurence Smith, of Giltspur Heights, said that he and his wife as well as many others rely on the Finnegan bus, as it is the only transport serving the Southern Cross. ‘We have to be able to use our passes,' he said. ‘ Why should we be the ones who have to lobby the TDs?'
Mr. Finnegan said that the Government has not renegotiated the payment terms of the scheme in five years.
‘We set up an arrangement for the free travel scheme,' he said. ‘People do have a right to be able to use their passes. We set a price based on an agreed level of usership based on a survey that was carried out in 2006. Since then the numbers using the busses have increased, and the fares have increased in line with others.'
Mr. Finnegan said that the Department has not agreed to a new survey even though one was supposed to take place after three years.
Finnegan’s bus service.