Bus Eireann have confirmed to the Leitrim Observer that they still intend to apply for a Monday route change to include Dromod and Rooskey, despite a delay in doing so.
In a letter dated January 9 to Senator Paschal Mooney, CEO of Bus Eireann Martin Nolan had said it was their intention “to apply to the NTA to alter the existing route 463 Public Contract Service operating between Carrigallen and Longford on Mondays. This change would include serving Dromod and Rooskey on Mondays at approximately 10.35 and giving a return service from Longford at 14.35.”
Larry O’Connor of the local Dromod/ Rooskey Bus Action group said they had not been informed of this intention and a letter from the Public Transport Regulation Division at the NTA on February 1 confirmed “that the National Transport Authority has received no formal proposals for additional services to Rooskey.”
But a letter from Bus Eireann’s Sligo Regional Office this week told the Leitrim Observer “Bus Éireann hope to be in a position to introduce a change that would include serving Dromod and Rooskey on Mondays. We are discussing these matters with the NTA and intend to formally apply for a route change as soon as possible.”
The email from Bus Eireann was received the morning after repeated requests for Bus Eireann to re-instate three services each way per day through Dromod and Rooskey on Route 23, at the Leitrim County Council meeting last Monday. Mr Leahy explained that a combination of greater competition, increased running costs and declining income had prompted a major overhaul of the routes serving the area. He noted that Bus Eireann were left with two options, either to radically change the services offer or to withdraw services altogether. “We chose to radically change the services,” he said.
He acknowledged these changes have had a serious impact on services for the villages of Dromod and Rooskey and said that local representatives and community representatives had made their feelings known in meetings with the company. “The difficulty is that this is a commercial route. It has to be able to stand on its own. It has to be viable. We don’t have a public service obligation to either village,” he added.
Cllr Sean McGowan proposed the reintroduction of three each way daily services for both Dromod and Rooskey and said that he felt there were sufficient passenger numbers to sustain this. His call was echoed by Cllr John Ward who said that no real savings had been made by the company as a result of cutting services to these villages.
Mr Leahy noted the request to reinstate the services but argued that there was already a lot of competition from private services and the railway serving this area. He acknowledged that there weren’t substantial cost savings as a result of cuts but claimed the more direct service was more appealing to customers, stating “it’s about trying to sell a more direct route”.
At the end of the presentation, Cllr McGowan again put his proposal for the restoration of three each way services to Mr Leahy asking “are Bus Eireann going to look at this proposal?” He added that Boyle was already served by three daily each way services and said there was “more demand potential in Dromod and Rooskey”.
However Mr Leahy made no reference to the restoration of services merely saying that Bus Eireann were “still reviewing the timetable” and that this was “ongoing”.