Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus company, is today announcing details of what is its most significant single enhancement of services in more than 15 years. Funded by the National Transport Authority through the Government’s July Stimulus, it includes both new services and increased frequency on existing services, that when combined will contribute to Bus Éireann providing an additional three million kilometres of journeys per year nationwide.
In total 120 driver posts will be created as a result of the enhancements being delivered through the July Stimulus, with half requiring external recruitment in the areas of Ballina, Cork, Drogheda, Dundalk and Limerick. Recruitment for some positions is ongoing and in the last months, women recruits have accounted for 15% of new drivers hired – an improvement on previous recruitment campaigns, following concerted attempts in recent years to promote driving as a career choice amongst women.
In a significant development for the growing town, an enhanced full town service will be introduced in Navan from 20th of December, increasing the town’s service from the current service provision of one bus a day Monday to Friday only, to two routes which will run every half an hour, from early morning until 23.30, seven days a week, served by five buses. Navan has a population of more than 30,000 people, making it the fifth largest town in Ireland.
In Cork city, a new cross city service will be introduced linking Glanmire with CUH via the city centre, and the frequency of city services will also be increased to three services an hour between Glanmire and the city centre. Additional evening and weekend services will also be introduced on Routes 202 and 208.
Other areas to benefit from enhanced bus services include Portroe, Co Tipperary which will have a daily bus service to Limerick and Nenagh for the first time as part of an increased Route 323 linking Nenagh and Limerick; weekend services will be introduced on Scariff-Limerick routes for the first time; and in West Clare there will be a significant increase in frequency between Ennis and West Clare and the towns of Kilkee, Doonbeg and Lahinch will be linked directly for the first time.
The frequency of Drogheda town services will increase with the addition of two new routings, operating a combined fifteen minute frequency, seven days a week from 20th of December. Integration of services will be a key component of the service enhancements in Drogheda, with newer residential areas being linked directly with the town centre for the first time, and services being designed for easy transfer to longer distance bus and rail connections. This is the latest in a series of enhancements in Drogheda, which has contributed to a 50% increase in passenger numbers being recorded last year.
In Limerick city, the frequency of route 303 will double to every 15 minutes, and more services will be offered in the evenings and weekend than has been available to date. The route will also be extended to include Georgian Village, to address additional housing and growing demand in the area.
Service enhancements on the West Clare Network which connect to rail at Ennis, will enable passengers to travel between West Clare and Dublin in a single day for the first time using public transport. And in the Greater Dublin Area, all major commuter timetables have been revised to improve punctuality and reliability.
Improvements have already been rolled out in Louth, Kerry and Mayo, including the first year-round connection between Clifden and Westport, and linking Baltray, Clogher and Termonfeckin directly to Dundalk for the first time.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan; said; “This is the largest single investment by government in Bus Éireann services in more than 15 years. These new and improved services will mean that public transport will be a viable option for more people outside Dublin than ever before. By providing more choice and frequency we will connect more communities and encourage the switch from cars, while also reducing traffic, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Anne Graham, CEO, National Transport Authority; said; “Each of these service enhancements have been carefully considered and created to meet either increased demand or to address gaps in existing services. The creation of an enhanced town service in Navan, for example, is in response to the growth that the town continues to enjoy and the consequent growing need for public transport. Similarly, in Drogheda, the new service has been designed specifically to link residential areas with areas of work. Our public transport system must continue to evolve with the needs of passengers, and it is with that in mind that each of the service improvements have been designed.”
Stephen Kent, CEO, Bus Éireann, said; “Our passenger numbers in town and city services across the country have demonstrated that investment in services is quickly followed by growth – the demand is there. In Waterford, for example, passenger numbers increased by 50%, in Drogheda by 50% and on route 220 in Cork – Ireland’s first 24 hour city route – by 70% within a year of improvements.
We expect that to be our experience in Navan with the addition of an enhanced town service and equally we expect the increase in frequency in services in Drogheda, Limerick and Cork to be welcomed. We’re glad to be able to deliver services in our regional towns and cities that provide for more balanced regional development and growth, especially as people consider new and more flexible ways of working and living.
To be recruiting drivers nine months into a pandemic is very positive and we are delighted to see that more women are starting to see it as a career for them as well. With the support of funding from the NTA and Government, this investment and additional services will help us to provide reliable and safe public transport services for more people around the country,” he said.
Updated service details and timetables will be available at www.buseireann.ie
Bus Éireann and Expressway services continue to operate at a capacity of 50% under Level 3 restrictions and Government advice is that public transport should be avoided unless the travel is essential. Bus Éireann fully adheres to all public health guidelines and is committed to ensuring the continued safety and well-being of its employees and customers observing many precautionary measures including the mandatory wearing of face coverings, overnight deep cleaning, touchpoint cleaning throughout the day and protective screens and personal protective equipment for drivers.
Bus Éireann encourages customers to use Leap Cards, Automatic Ticket Machines and online ticket purchase to minimise the use of cash. Tickets can be purchased at www.buseireann.ie