DOZENS OF PEOPLE studying and working in Dublin 'were left stranded' on Monday after Bus Eireann revised its routes, bypassing large chunks of County Wicklow.
The change means that stops between Arklow and Kilmacanogue have been effectively wiped out.
People in Barndarrig, Brittas and the Beehive areas have been forced to find alternative transport to the capital this week as bus stops between Arklow and Kilmacanogue were effectively wiped out on the Expressway Route 2 service.
After stopping in Arklow the next stop the popular commuter bus will make is in Kilmacanogue.
Rosemary Hetherington from the Barndarrig area was a regular user of the service, particularly for social and work related outings into Dublin City Centre.
'I'm absolutely devastated by the loss of the stops, especially at Lil Doyle's.. even as a child there was a stop there.'
CONTINUED PAGE 5 FROM FRONT NOW IT is so sad to see the stop shrouded in black plastic.'
The changes to Route 2 will have a significant impact on Rosemary's life.
'I will be lost without it. Public money was put into those bus stops and now they will be of no use. The Government are also meant to be trying to encourage people to use public transport. Well this move just encourages them to drive.'
Kieran Flannery of Red Cross is involved in IT and used the service regularly to attend jobs in Dublin.
'I had taken the effort to use public transport and actually found it better than a car if you were working in the city centre. I don't understand this decision. We are being told we should use public transport yet services are being cut. There are multiple stops in Arklow. If they wanted to reduce delays they could have reduced the number of stops there.'
Seamus Murphy of Barndarrig is also highly critical of the decision.
'During the summer you have plenty of day trippers using the service to get to Brittas Bay. What are they to do now? Students and elderly members of the community also regularly catch the Route 2 bus. Now they lose their independence because of this decision.'
According to Bus Eireann the new changes, which have been sanctioned by the National Transport Authority, will 'provide the fastest coach service available between Wexford and Dublin Airport of just 2 hours and 40 minutes.'
Speaking at Monday's meeting of Wicklow Co. Council Cllr. Jimmy O'Shaughnessy called for a suspension of standing orders to discuss the changes.
He said ' this is a very serious issue. Bus Eireann has decided to cut out quite a lot of bus stops along the way stopping only at the Knockmore Roundabout and the Tourist Office in Arklow and then at Kilmac bypassing the rest of the county.
'60 odd people were left stranded this morning (Monday) and couldn't go to university or work.
'All these areas have been left high and dry.' Later he said ' The 133 does service places like Ashford, Newtown and Kilpeddar but there is now only a very limited service at Barndarrig, Lil Doyle's, Jack White's and the Beehive'.
' The Minister for Transport is calling on people to use public transport but yet here we have people who are trying to use it (public transport) but can't.
Cllr. Pat Fitzgerald supported him saying the bus users are angry and frustrated.'