Bus Éireann’s €10 fee for bicycles questioned but Minister Ryan says it’s not a matter for him

Bus Éireann’s €10 each-way charge for bicycles on Expressway and local coaches with storage is being questioned by the Labour leader Ivana Bacik, but Green Party leader and transport Minister Eamon Ryan says it’s a matter for the bus company.

The bicycle feels applies regardless of the length of journey, which means the bicycle ticket is often more costly than the passenger ticket.

The use of coaches with storage suitable for bicycles includes many services between towns and into cities where there is rarely much luggage in the hold.

Bus Éireann — which is wholly owned by the Government — has the most expensive charging practices.

Citylink, Aircoach, and GoBus charge half of the State-owned bus operator at €5, while JJ Kavanagh and Matthews both carry bicycles for free. All are subject to space which generally cannot be reserved except GoBus which offers a phone-in booking service.

The National Cycle Policy 2009-2020 introduced by former transport minister Noel Dempsey included the action: “We will examine the existing conditions of carriage of bikes on intercity buses – both public and private – and develop specific policies to improve the service. This will include having operators provide clear information on the conditions of carriage of bikes.”

Since taking office Minister Ryan has abandoned having a separate National Cycle Policy. Some of cycling policy has been integrated into the National Sustainable Mobility Policy but it lacks the number of actions as the standalone Cycle Policy.

The change had other impacts such as the removal of the policy to trial bicycles on Luas trams off-peak. Transport authorities who are responsible for the Luas have maintained it is because of safety but other tram systems which use the same trams allow bicycles on board.


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In a written parliamentary question, Labour leader and Dublin TD Bacik asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport “if Bus Éireann’s €10 charge for transporting bicycles by bus is in line with Government policy; and if he will make a statement on the need to promote cross-modal commuting and interchangeable public and active transport methods.”

In the written response, transport and environment Minister Ryan said: “As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport; however, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of public transport.”

Ryan’s office said that as the issue raised is an operational matter for Bus Éireann it has been forwarded to Bus Éireann for direct reply.

“The National Sustainable Mobility Policy (SMP) was published in April 2022 alongside an Action Plan containing 91 actions to be delivered during the period from 2022-2025,” he said. “Following the development of new targets under the Climate Action Plan 2023 these actions are being undertaken as part of achieving targets of a 50% increase in daily active travel journeys, a 130% increase in daily public transport journeys, and a 20% reduction in total vehicle kilometres travelled by 2030.”

“The Action Plan covers all areas of sustainable mobility including the integration of public transport and active travel, and overall aims to enable more sustainable transport choices in our travel for work, education, and our social lives within our communities,” Ryan said.

Ryan added: “The Department also funds the installation of bike parking at various locations through the National Transport Authority (NTA). While the majority of these parking spaces are at schools, with 250 schools receiving bike parking in 2023 alone, some parking is installed in other locations including transport hubs, hospitals and third-level campuses, as well as throughout cities, towns and villages as part of public realm works completed under the Active Travel Infrastructure Programme.”

UPDATED: After the article was first published it was added that Matthews also carries bicycles for free.

3 comments

  1. For years there has been charges on cie services for bikes prams and dogs prams and dogs were removed years ago and bikes free on trains since at least the 80s

    Reply
    • Bikes were only made free on intercity trains in recent years or at least within the last 5 or so years. Before that you’d have to pay for a bicycle ticket for the guards van and maybe for a while with the newer trains.

      Reply
  2. Eamon Ryan has always been a me-Feiner. He allowed all previous coalition partners away with all manner of poor behavior (inc economic meltdown in 2007 etc). So, no surprises that he, as a Green, is attempting to turn a blind-eye to what is a blatant anti-green charge for bikes on busses.

    Romanian busses (e,g, who park on Sean Mc Dermot Street, Dublin) have large trailers for extra luggage. They travel through Europe, on & off ferries etc. If space was the issue, Bus Eireann could easily attach a (bespoke) bike carrying trailer – End of problem. But they have the space on most coaches. They are just trying to get extra money. (see what did there?).

    Reply

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