Supporting Local News

Private operator offers solution to Loughrea bus crux

The Minister for Transport has been urged to take up an offer from private bus operator Citylink to provide an evening service between Galway and Loughrea.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said it seemed “eminently sensible” to use drivers and coaches which are available to provide a comprehensive evening service on the route.

“There is no bus service from the city to Loughrea after 6.30pm each evening. This is not acceptable, particularly in light of government policy which seeks to encourage people to use public transport more often,” he said.

He urged Minister Éamon Ryan and Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority.

Citylink has made a formal proposal to both the NTA and the Minister, offering to provide a late evening service between Galway and Loughrea.

The company says that it has the fleet, the drivers and the technology to be able to offer a far more comprehensive service if it received support from the NTA.

According to the private operator, there is a demand for more services later in the evening.

Deputy Cannon said: “This latest offer by Citylink needs to be assessed immediately. It seems eminently sensible that a company that has the buses and the drivers already in place on this route would be supported in enhancing the service.

“We are seeing unprecedented investment in Local Link services across the country, connecting rural towns, and that is a most welcome development.

“However, it makes no sense to withhold investment in a service between Loughrea and Galway. 700 people leave Loughrea every weekday morning to commute to Galway City.

“A tiny fraction of them use public transport. We could encourage many more to switch to public transport if we had a proper service. This migration to public transport must be a key element of reducing traffic congestion on the eastern side of Galway City every morning.

“In fact, we should have a regular and reliable public transport service connecting the city to every major commuter town in our county. Leaving Loughrea without a proper service is no longer acceptable. The Minister and the NTA must act now.”

He added that it was not acceptable that a city of 85,000 people and a town of almost 6,000 people had no public transport connectivity after 6.30pm each evening.

“People are willing to use public transport when they have access to a regular and reliable service, we have seen evidence of that across the country when proper services are made available.

“I have raised this matter repeatedly in Dail Eireann, as recently as December 5 and I’m getting a consistently poor response from Minister Eamon Ryan and the National Transport Authority. It’s time that they solved this problem and there is a solution available to them right now,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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