Changes in the Local Link service are leaving long term users of the service “stranded” with no access to a bus service since the introduction of the new bus route and service on June 28.
The change over of bus companies and the new route system put in place by Local Link is leaving some people without access to transport.
Leitrim councillors and Leitrim TD Martin Kenny are calling for the reinstatement and resumption of the previous service.
Deputy Kenny said; “My office has received numerous calls and emails from constituents who are annoyed and upset by the new route and service being operated by Local Link in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.
“As a result of this change in service many feel that their local bus service has been withdrawn leaving them isolated and cut off from their local town.
“These are people who have been loyal customers and users of the service for years, many of them are elderly and live alone, some with disability and mobility issues who have no other access to transport.
“They depend on the Local Link to get to town to do their weekly shopping, attend health appointments, get to the train station or just to meet friends and socialise.
“The previous service would collect them at their home or close to it and drop them back their in the evening. I have heard stories of an elderly woman over 80 years of age having to walk three miles to get the bus, people with mobility issues walking a mile to get the bus then being dropped off at the train station in Carrick-on -Shannon where they have to walk into the town centre or out to the Tesco retail park and back to the train station with what ever shopping they may have in order to catch the bus home.
“I don’t believe this is what was envisaged when Local Link was established, it is completely unfair to these elderly and vulnerable people.
“As a result many of them are not using the bus anymore and are becoming isolated and cut of from their friends and the local community.
“I have written to the Minister for Transport, Local Link and Transport for Ireland (TFI) to request a meeting to try to resolve this issue.”
Carrick Town Councillor Finola Armstrong McGuire received support for her motion at Leitrim County Council's meeting on Monday demanding Local Link present their new routes and services to councillors and be available to answer questions.
Cllr Armstrong-McGuire said the changes in the service have been “dramatic” and has seen routes, times and frequencies of buses altered.
She also noted the change over of bus providers and the move from small mini buses to large buses.
Chairperson of Leitrim County Council Paddy O'Rourke said Local Link should present to a workshop dedicated wholly to the subject and the media should be invited to keep everything transparent and open.
Cllr Frank Dolan reminded members that Local Link representatives previously cancelled presentations to the council.
Cllr Justin Warnock and Cllr Paddy Farrell said “it was all not bad” and paid tribute to the rural transport system. But it was agreed a presentation and question session was necessary with Local Link as Cllr Padraig Fallon said those who are the main users of the service are now no longer able to access and benefit from it.
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