Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív says he has been promised that additional services from Galway to An Cheathrú Rua will come on stream from next September as a result of intense negotiations.
Currently, the last bus leaves Galway at around 6 o’clock in the evening; however there is demand for continuing services up until at least 11pm.
“My understanding from what Bus Éireann has said is that they will introduce ½ hour frequency services on the An Cheathrú Rua to Galway service at peak commuter times. There will also be three night services at 7.00pm. 9.00pm and 11.00pm”, said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“This is a big step in the right direction.
“There are plenty of people who commute from west Galway into the city every day and it is not always possible for them to make the last bus at 6 o’clock in the evening. This forces them to drive to work, adding to congestion and increasing their journey time. By providing later services, more people will be encouraged to use public transport. If Bus Éireann doesn’t have the capacity, Local Link, with the approval of the NTA, could provide link services to Carna and Leitir Mealláin for these additional services.
“If we are serious about encouraging more people to use public transport, we need to ensure that there are quality services available with flexible timetables.
“The idea that the services for a city with a large work force, a university, an Institute of Technology and a major hospital would cease at 6 o’clock in the evening, is not satisfactory and I am very pleased with the engagement and support that I have received from Bus Éireann in trying to improve these services.
“The issue of fares also needs to be addressed and I am calling on the National Transport Authority to examine the current situation where average fares on rural buses are twice as expensive per kilometre as on Expressway or on urban services. This is totally unjust and is acting as a deterrent to people who may otherwise use these services.
“I welcome the news that 30 new drivers are being hired to work out of Galway and reduce the need for private operators on these routes. Furthermore, I have called on Bus Éireann to ensure that where private operators are operating its routes, the buses are clearly signed as a Bus Éireann service, as sometimes people do not realise that these buses are the regular scheduled service.
“Additionally, I am calling for the National Transport Authority to ensure that there is an on-board toilet on services of more than two hours duration. Many of the services serving more rural areas take a lot longer than two hours to get from the point of origin to the destination and basic toilet facilities should be made available for passengers. I have raised this issue with the NTA and am very disappointed with the negative attitude being shown to this proposal. Despite this attitude, I will continue to pursue this proposition with the NTA and the Minister”.