'Cars for Bars' plan for rural areas
A government Minister has suggested that there should be a 'Cars for Bars' initiative to bring people to and from the pub in rural areas or Ireland.
Brendan Griffin, who is the Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Transport, and Sport, wants to introduce a scheme where people would volunteer to drive other locals in the community for one night a month and, in turn, would be able to avail of the free service any other night they wished.
The Kerry TD proposes an Uber-like system that could be introduced to bridge gaps in public transport in isolated areas.
While there is no shortage of transport in rural Ireland, the reality is that there is a shortage of available transport. Mr Griffin said:
“Rural Ireland is full of cars, rural Ireland is full of buses, but the problem is they are not there when people need them or they are not readily available,”
“I tried to set up a scheme in my own local parish at home called the Cars for Bars scheme.
“Basically, it was a roster of volunteers who, for one night in the month, would make themselves available to drive people to and from the local pub or wherever else they wanted to go in the community.
“The benefit for those volunteers was that for every other night in the month they have that service available to them, free of charge.
“We couldn’t initiate because the insurance companies wouldn’t cover it because it was a rostered arrangement and, therefore, there was a public transport element to it.
“This is the type of red tape and nonsense that we really need to be getting over.”
Mr Griffin has discussed the issue with Transport Minister Shane Ross, who has made contact with the insurance industry.
“That’s just one idea, something that could be very easily replicated in every rural community the length and breadth of the country,” he said.
“I want to see small pubs thriving into the future and surviving because they are an integral part of our tourism product.
“People come here to experience the small Irish rural pubs and we don’t want to see them closing; we want to see them living on and that’s why the Cars for Bars scheme that I was looking at was very important to me.” Regarding a rural-based Uber-like system, Mr Griffin went on to say:
“We need to start thinking outside the box in terms of rural Ireland. We are never going to be able to afford the type of transport network in rural Ireland that we have in Dawson St or O’Connell St in Dublin or anywhere else like that.
“What we do need to do is to start embracing technology, we need to look at the likes of Uber, we need to start empowering local communities to help each other,”