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Leap cards to bring cut in Galway bus fares

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A new prepaid Leap card system to be rolled out on Galway city bus services in September will offer reduced fares to passengers.

The card will be introduced in the city first by Bus Éireann before being used on public transport buses in the rest of the county.

The cards can be purchased from accredited outlets for €5 and credit bought for them as pre-paid fares. Bus fares on all city routes will be up to 16% cheaper.

It will operate along the lines of similar transport cards in other countries, like the Oyster Card in London, and can be used on the Luas, the Dart, short-hop Irish Rail trains and on the buses in Cork, where it has already been rolled out. It will be introduced in Limerick later in the year.

Bus drivers in Galway will be offered training to use the special TGX boxes which are currently being installed on all city buses.

Nicola Cooke, Media and PR Manager for Bus Éireann, said Galway City was being used as a ‘test bed’ before the Leap card would be rolled out on county bus routes.

“It is an ‘e purse product’ and fares will be cheaper using the Leap card. It does mean a drop in revenue for us but we are introducing this in line with international practice.

“It should attract more passengers. There was a huge jump in passenger numbers in Galway city in 2013, possibly helped by dedicated priority bus lanes, real time electronic information at bus-stops and the increase of public confidence in the bus service,” she said.

A total of 1.2 million passenger journeys are now being recorded annually on one of the city’s successful bus routes – the Doughiska one.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel

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Galway to receive €1million in outdoor recreational funding

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https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/f49pq7/outdoor_online-audio-convertercom_7g892.mp3
Galway Bay fm newsroom – Galway is set to receive one million euro in funding under the Outdoor Recreation Fund.
Half of the fund is going toward the upgrade of the Western Way trail.
€200,000 will go toward the Creggs Mountain Walk, with the remainder shared between ‘The Walks’, Loughrea, and Killarainy Woods in Moycullen.
Local senator Aisling Dolan explains the significance of the funding for the local communities.

-insert audio clip- https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/f49pq7/outdoor_online-audio-convertercom_7g892.mp3

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Taste of Galway at ‘Flavours of Ireland’

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Joanne Nunn, Kuoni Tumlare; Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland; and David Keane, DK Connemara Oysters, at Flavours of Ireland 2022.

Some 60 tourism companies from Ireland attended ‘Flavours of Ireland’ 2022 in London last week – including Connemara Wild Escapes, DK Connemara Oysters and Killary Fjord Boat Tours.

‘Flavours’ is Tourism Ireland’s annual B2B tourism workshop, where tourism companies from Ireland meet and do business with top global inbound tour operators.

Now in its 20th year, ‘Flavours’ took place in the Guildhall, in the City of London, and was attended by around 100 global inbound tour operators who deliver business from all over the world, including the United States, Mainland Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa.

‘Flavours’ provides an excellent opportunity for the participating tourism providers from Galway and Ireland to highlight and sell their tourism product and build valuable relationships with the key decision-makers in attendance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Planning Regulator wants Galway City Council U-turn on Development Plan

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From the Galway City Tribune – The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has asked Galway City Council to roll back material alterations to the new City Development Plan proposed by councillors.

In July, elected members voted through a raft of changes to zonings in the Draft City Development Plan 2023-29, which went out on public display.

But the Planning Regulator has now warned City Hall that many of the proposed changes do not comply with the OPR’s recommendations, and are contrary to national planning guidelines.

The OPR specifically highlighted problems with proposals to rezone as residential land deemed at risk of flooding.

Anne Marie O’Connor, Deputy Regulator, wrote to the Council’s Planning Department outlining the OPR’s fresh advice on the changes to the draft plan proposed and approved by councillors.

The draft plan will come before elected members again this month.

Councillors will be asked to row back on some of their previous material alterations, which ran contrary to advice of the OPR.

Ms O’Connor said the OPR welcomed many of the changes made by the City Council in its draft plan. She said, however, that the OPR “has a number of outstanding concerns relating to the response of the planning authority to its recommendations and to a number of proposed material alterations relating to the zoning of lands”.

These relate to changes that conflict with national and regional objectives for compact growth; with legislative requirements regarding climate action and core strategies; and with rezoning land at risk of flooding.

The OPR highlighted a dozen or more material alterations by councillors that are “not consistent” with the National Planning Framework for compact growth.

These include re-zoning of land from agricultural or recreational and amenity to residential.

The changes voted on by councillors, the OPR noted, were done against the advice of the Council’s Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.

The OPR said the changes proposed by councillors represented a “piecemeal approach” to zoning and were “inconsistent” with national policy.

These comments related to proposed rezoning of land at Rahoon; Dublin Road; Quarry Road, Menlo; Ballindooley; off Circular Road; Menlo village; Roscam and Barna Woods.

The OPR also raised “significant concerns” over five material alterations proposed for residential zonings of land at Western Distributor Road; Terryland; Menlo Village; Headford Road and Barna Woods which are located within flood zones.

The approach by councillors “may place people and property at unnecessary risk from future flood events”, the OPR warned.

Ms O’Connor told planners that if the draft plan ignores the OPR advice or is at odds with its recommendations, the Council Chief Executive must inform the OPR in writing the reasons for doing so.

Save Roscam Peninsula in a 33-page submission to the draft plan echoed many of the concerns outlined by the OPR.

The Council has pencilled in four dates in November and December to approve the plan.

It will meet on November 21, 24 and 28 and December 1 when material alterations will be voted on individually.
This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, November 4. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

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