Leitrim's new timetabled Local Link rural network of buses are expected to be rolled out from January 2021.
Fiona O'Shea from Local Link informed Manorhamilton Municipal District meeting on Monday that the tenders for the new contracts close this Friday. They will then be jointly assessed by Local Link and the National transport Agency.
The new system will see at least 15 blocks of routes around the county connecting rural areas to towns and villages with further connections on to Carrick-on-Shannon.
Ms O'Shea said they now need help from the council with bus shelters, spaces for buses to pull in, access to secondary roads with no overhanging trees or potholes as well as daily information on road works and road closures.
She said they have an application in with the NTA for an electric bus on the Arigna to Carrick-on-Shannon route. If granted this will be a first in the north west region.
Ms O'Shea said the network will be stable and will help increase visitors with mobility issues and those who want to reach rural areas but have no transport to visit the county. All buses on the routes will be wheelchair accessible for two wheelchairs.
Manorhamilton area councillors expressed their delight at the news that blackspots like Kiltyclogher are now included in the routes. Cllr Felim Gurn asked about the possibility of night services once Covid-19 is under control. Ms O'Shea said while this was not a priority at the moment, once the routes are set up and demand is found this can be added to the network.
She explained there remains some issues to be worked out over the maintenance of bus shelters, but added the infrastructure is necessary to keep customers dry and safe.
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