Epilepsy Ireland have been notified by Bus Éireann that they intend to remove Epilepsy Ireland member discounts at the end of the year.
Members of Epilepsy Ireland who become 3 & 5 year members, can avail of a discount on Bus Éireann services when they show their Epilepsy Ireland membership card. This allowed Epilepsy Ireland 3 & 5 year members to avail of the student rate for their journey rather than the full rate.
Unfortunately we were not consulted or notified directly of this decision in advance. It was extremely dissapointing that we learned of plans via a press enquiry as this feature in the Irish Examiner outlines.
Today, we have received a response from Bus Éireann to our request for clarification. You can see this in italics below:
I hope that you and your members are staying safe and well during these times.
I write in reference to the arrangement that Bus Éireann has with Epilepsy Ireland since October 2018, whereby members who present their memberships cards may receive discounted Student fare rates on Bus Éireann and Expressway services.
Bus Éireann has been very happy to have been associated with your organisation. However, I write now to inform you that unfortunately, we regret that we will no longer be in a position to continue with the offer of discounted fares to your members after 31st December 2020, on advice from the National Transport Authority.
Please, could you inform your members therefore, that from 1st January 2021, Epilepsy Ireland membership cards will not be valid for receipt of discounted fares on Bus Éireann and Expressway services.
We would advise members who travel on local and commuter services to purchase Leap cards, which now offer the best value in fares.
Thank you to all your members who travel on Bus Éireann and Expressway services.
While we welcome the efforts from Bus Éireann to communicate their decision to us, we still feel there is little explanation as to why this decision is being taken.
We have now responded to Bus Éireann seeking further clarification on this - particularly in reference as to why the National Transport Authority has recommended the discount be removed and urging Bus Éireann to reconsider their decision in this regard.
When we have further information, we will communicate this to our members as soon as possible.
We know that this concession can make a big difference for people with epilepsy who are unable to drive or are temporarily off the road due to their seizures. Owing to the fact that successive Governments have not acted on the issue of a free travel pass for people with epilepsy, this concession that we negotiated with Bus Éireann was important in helping many people with epilepsy to some degree with the costs of travel and maintaining independence. It also acknowledged that our national bus company understood and cared about the particular challenges faced by people with epilepsy and the hidden disability associated with active seizures.
As we await further information from Bus Éireann, we encourage members of Epilepsy Ireland to communicate your thoughts on the planned removal of this concession to Bus Éireann here - please also send us copies of any feedback sent to the company to email@example.com.