Athlone-Westport bus service must meet community needs - Naughten

Deputy Denis Naughten has strongly criticised the plan by Bus Éireann to issue a “use it or lose it” demand to communities along the Athlone-Westport bus route.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Deputy Naughten said “Instead of Bus Éireann threatening to close down the Westport bus route, they should be trying to alter it, to ensure that more people can actually avail of the service.”

He said the National Transport Authority needs to address the “lack of joined-up thinking” with regards to linking bus schedules with hospital and medical services.

“Since Roscommon Hospital closed, people all along the route of the Athlone-Westport bus service, are forced to travel to Castlebar or Portiuncula Hospitals for appointments but no effort has been made to accommodate them on Bus Éireann services.

“Why can we not use what we have, and support the health service by providing timely bus services which will, in turn, put more passengers on the buses? This is one simple, cost effective way to make sure that vast parts of rural Ireland are not left without any public transport service, whatsoever.”

Deputy Naughten added that the bus service to Knock Airport was “nothing short of a joke”, given that every year over 100,000 people, either from County Roscommon or visiting the county, pass through the airport.

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