There were mixed reactions following a partial u-turn by Bus Éireann management on recent route cuts.
Although Bus Éireann have agreed to provide a short term once-a -day service to Rooskey and Dromod, other towns such as Elphin have still been excluded. The limited services have been reinstated on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.
Added to this there is growing anger that services in the South East of Co Leitrim/West Cavan border remain curtailed.
Roscommon/South Leitrim Deputy, Denis Naughten said that the recent moves by Bus Éireann “completely ignores the community in Elphin, which is now being left isolated on the Bus Éireann network by this decision. Furthermore, a once a day service to Rooskey and Dromod is completely inadequate to meet the needs to the local community who use the existing service to travel to work school, medical appointments, hospitals, nursing homes etc.”
“The fear now is that because this is a limited service which will not meet the requirements of current users, the numbers on the route will actually reduce rather than increase, which would see the service being lost to the villages of Rooskey and Dromod in the coming months,” he said.
“I also believe that the regulator, the National Transport Authority has serious questions to answer both in how the handled the change in the operation of the two bus routes involved and its failure to consider the provision of alternative public transport options for the local communities involved.”
Deputy Frank Feighan told the Leitrim Observer that Bus Éireann officials have stated they are also reviewing some local bus services in the area in conjunction with the National Transport Authority.
He said the current agreement was not an ideal situation but local residents have welcomed the news that there will, at least in Dromod and Rooskey, be some services still available.
However, West Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has accused the Minister for Transport of washing his hands of responsibility for the decision of Bus Éireann to stop serving Swanlinbar, Bawnboy and Ballyconnell.
“Last week, I contacted the Office of the Minster for Transport, the Office of the Chief Executive of Bus Éireann and the National Transport Authority.
“I have got a reply from Minster Varadkar’s Office stating that ‘as this is an operational matter in which the Minster had no role in’ he would refer my concerns to Bus Éireann. The reply is a total cop-out by the Minister,” he told the Leitrim Observer.
“He is the shareholder on behalf of the Irish People and surely he has an obligation to insist that the public interest is taken into account and that Bus Éireann fulfils its duties to provide a proper and sustainable service to the people of Leitrim/West Cavan.”
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