The community of Multyfarnham is to lose its only public bus service from next week, according to Fianna Fáil Deputy Robert Troy.
The National Transport Authority has confirmed to Deputy Troy that the route has been axed and there will be no Bus Éireann service serving Multyfarnham from next Monday, 26th August.
Deputy Troy has described it as a significant blow to the area and a further erosion of services in rural communities.
“This route has served Multyfarnham for generations. Running twice a day, it is a busy service providing the only means of public transport in the area. Many older people are particularly dependent on the service to give them the freedom to travel to and from the community. In addition to this, the route also services the local secondary school. With the new school year due to start next week, many parents will now be wondering how exactly their kids will get to school,” said Deputy Troy.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy met with the National Transport Authority (NTA) earlier this month amid fears of a scaling back of public bus services in Westmeath. The Fianna Fáil Deputy stressed the importance of retaining public bus routes in the county and highlighted in particular the need to retain the Multyfarnham route. He was assured that efforts were being made to maintain some service in Multyfarnham. However, he has now been informed that the route is being axed outright.
“Unfortunately this seems like yet another cut in what has become a sustained attack on community services across the Midlands,” Deputy Troy said.
“For a community to lose its only public bus service is a serious development, particularly at a time when so many local services are being cut. Right across the Midlands, we have seen many local business close, bank branches shut down, local garda services cut and now small primary schools under threat. Public transport is more important than ever to provide access services that have been removed from local communities.
“I am calling on local government representatives to speak the Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly immediately to ensure that alternative bus services are provided in Multyfarnham. Minister Kelly and his senior Minister Leo Varadkar need to spell out exactly what their plans are rural bus services. It seems that what we are seeing is a downgrading of rural bus services under the radar.”