Private bus operators throughout Castleisland and its hinterland will gather on Tralee Road on Friday morning in preparation for a protest drive through the town.
Members of Kerry Private Bus Operators have chosen the Tralee Road Industrial Estate as the meeting point for their protest and they are advising fellow operators to be there at 10am sharp.
There will be a 15 minute interval for a photo-shoot and the protest cavalcade will leave at 10.30am.
Highlight a Serious Issue
The private operators say they need to undertake this protest to highlight a serious issue regarding the modus operandi of Limerick Road based company, Kerry Flyer Ltd.
Spokesperson for the private operators, Paudie Collins claims that the Kerry Flyer has attained charity status and has been funded substantially by government subsidies in recent years.
“We just want to highlight the fact that we’re not working in a fair market place here. We’re being undermined by a company with government funding behind it.
“Long-standing, government contracts are being lost by our operators and the Kerry Flyer has been undercutting the private operators now on school runs as well,” said Mr. Collins.
This situation has resulted in five local bus operators losing well established government contracts while others have lost their livelihood entirely.
While Mr. Collins and his fellow operators have no wish to see the Kerry Flyer cease its transportation contracts with the elderly to and from shopping trips and to day care centres, they can’t see a future for many of the operators in the area if the current situation is allowed to continue.
“If we lose any more of these Bus Éireann contracts it will be devastating for local communities and it will just put another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland,” said Mr. Collins.
Kerry Flyer Ltd was set up and has operated in the Castleisland area since 2001. It was established then in response to a need to provide accessible and affordable transport to the elderly and people with disabilities.
In keeping with a company directive, Kerry Flyer Ltd refrained from comment on the issues raised by the Kerry Private Bus Operators’ spokesman.
The company will, however, issue a statement outlining its function and status in due course.