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Bus growth in Galway to slow down due to lack of priority lanes



Only 10% of Galway City’s roads are dedicated bus lanes, which is causing a “serious deterioration” in Bus Éireann’s ability to fulfil its timetables.

Regional Manager Brian Connolly said that the company had become a victim of its own success – it was now increasingly unable to meet a growing demand, as the necessary infrastructure is not being provided.

“There are constant improvements coming into the network but, without priority measures, we are in danger of just having an increased level of resources caught up in the same traffic,” he said.

The Galway City bus network received a major overhaul in 2012 which, the figures show, has been a significant success story.

“Passenger journeys are up 50% which, in public transport terms, is a massive improvement in such a short space of time. Here in Galway City, we have the most efficient, punctual and effective city network in the country. So much so, that Dublin Bus were asked by the NTA (National Transport Authority) to come down and talk to us, to see what we were doing right.”

Mr Connolly says that the Doughiska route, which goes from Eyre Square to Parkmore, is the most successful one in the city – for a very obvious reason.

“One of the critical elements of this service is the level of bus priority on that route, particularly on the Dublin Road – we have bus lanes in and out bound, to the extent that it covers 25% of that route.

“Also, on the 405 Rahoon to Eyre Square and out to Ballybane, the Seamus Quirke Road has significant priority measures. That’s where we are seeing significant growth, so it just goes to demonstrate that when the priority measures are put in place, it improves the reliability, and punctuality. People are more or less guaranteed journey times, and that increases usage, which has been the recipe for success.”

However, the growth is being stifled by the lack of infrastructure, he added.

“The Bus Éireann network in Galway has only 10% bus lanes throughout the whole city, the other side of that is that on 90% of the network we are sharing the same road space as all of the other traffic. As congestion has worsened over the past six to 12 months, we are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve our timetables.

“We have to give over a little bit of road space to public transport, that’s not going to be agreeable to everyone involved, but if we want to ensure that the city moves more freely, and more people are using public transport, those are the sacrifices that have to be made.”

He said that the one-way traffic flow along Lough Atalia/College Road, which was in operation while works on lowering the road under the railway bridge were taking place, had proved to be “one of most significant improvements” for all bus operators coming in and out of the city.

“It was something that worked very well from our point of view, and is something that is being considered in the transport strategy, and we would be encouraging to continue with.”

In the medium term, Bus Éireann hopes that the ‘Luas on wheels’ or BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) will become a reality for the city, while it grows to a position where light rail will be a viable option.

The ‘bendy buses’ are a regular feature in European cities, and they are something that Bus Éireann has been looking at for over 10 years.

“Each stop should become a mini station. The vehicle itself can resemble a Luas, except it’s on tyres.

“If people still want to go for a light rail solution after that, at least you have proven the concept at a fraction of the cost to invest in light rail.

“You know it works, and then you can make a judgement whether or not to make that investment.”


Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service



The Blood Bike team and supporters with the charity’ s newest motorbike, Cara, during the fundraising day at the Galway Plaza. Pictured are (from left) John Moylan, Bridie Lyons (Fundraising Manager), Sean Griffin, Fergus Turner, James Treacy, Pat McDonagh, Dave O'Leary (Chairperson), Ronan Kane (Fleet Manager), and Sergio Massidda.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.

Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.

The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.

As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.

Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow:  collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.

In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.

As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.

Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.


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Park fun to mark Africa Day



Pam Mncube-Zoki of Africa United Galway, speaking at the National Integration Conference at NUI Galway last week. The group are co-organisers of Africa Day which takes place in Salthill Park on May 28. Photo:xposure

On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.

Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.

Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.

Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.

Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.

In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.

Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.

The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.

Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.

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Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’



At the launch of the Domestic Violence Response (DVR) Annual Report were Rachel Doyle and Elizabeth Power of DVR, Deputy Catherine Connolly and Anne Reynolds. Photos Sean Lydon


A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.

Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.

The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.

The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.

Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.

“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.

“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.

“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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