Rural bus route cuts are reversed
Clonroche and Bunclody bus users received a last minute reprieve after a review of planned cuts to the Expressway Route 5 bus service.
The review will see the extension of Route 132 coupled with the extension of Expressway Route 4 which will now continue to serve Clonroche and Bunclody.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) review saw the authority carry out a detailed analysis of the impact of the removal of Bus Éireann Expressway Route 5 on the affected towns' public transport links. It determined that some of these links should be maintained to meet a social need'.
In order to meet this need it suggested both the reconfiguration and additional services on Route 132 to serve Tullow and Bunclody connecting to Dublin and the establishment of a new rural transport services to connect the towns of Clonroche, Bunclody and Tullow to Enniscorthy and New Ross for onward connections to Dublin, Wexford and Waterford.
A spokesperson for Bus Eireann said the company 'welcomes the publication of the National Transport Authority's (NTA) comprehensive review of the withdrawal of Expressway Route 5. The authority have mapped out the next steps for the maintenance of public transport links in the affected areas, and we look forward to working with them on this.
'The extension of Bus Éireann's PSO Route 132 forms part of this solution, along with the extension of Expressway Route 4. Bus Éireann has, as a result, agreed to suspend the cancellation of Route 5 until April 26 next.'
Lorcan Dunne, Chairman of the Clonroche Development Association Ltd welcomed the news adding he had met with Minister of State Ann Phelan with Cllr John Fleming. He said during the meeting 'a frank discussion was engaged in with Councillor Fleming outlining the inconvenience and hardships caused to the travelling public, especially the senior members of the community and students pursuing their studies'.
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue said 'the announcement of changes to existing services and provision of new rural transport links to respond to the impact of the withdrawal of Number 5 is welcome'.
The next steps will be to establish the new rural transport link which is expected to be carried out by Wexford Local Link under the Rural Transport Programme and to get the new extended services up and running.
Some of the proposed changes include a week day morning peak service from Clonroche to Enniscorthy with connections to arrive in Wexford at 8.40am, Dublin City at 10.30am and Dublin Airport at 10.50am with a transfer at Enniscorthy and a week day morning peak service from Bunclody via Enniscorthy and Clonroche to New Ross with connections to Waterford and Waterford IT with transfer New Ross.