Saturday 17 February 2018

Politicians warn existing routes are failing to cater for workers' needs

Galway traffic
Galway traffic
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Galway already has a private bus company in operation, but with just three routes on offer it can do little to overcome the city's serious transport problems.

Business groups and politicians have both warned that the current routes provided in the city are failing to cater for thousands of workers and tourists alike.

A recent study of traffic and travel trends in the city carried out by the Galway Chamber of Commerce found that 80pc of workers used their cars, with less than 3pc using either bus or train. It found frequency of services and the lack of direct bus routes from where people live to where they work were the main difficulties with the service.

"There are significant numbers commuting across the city but all routes pass through Eyre Square where commuters would generally have to change," it stated.

While the City Direct private bus company operates three routes in the city, from Barna, Knocknacarra and Rahoon into the centre, locals and businesses want to see more routes provided.

They are calling on Bus Éireann to either provide more options or open up routes under their control to other operators.

Labour councillor Niall McNeilis said the lack of a direct route between Knocknacarra and Salthill was costing the area dearly in terms of business.

"We have bus services direct from Salthill to Knocknacarra but we have no direct bus from Knocknacarra back to Salthill. You have to go through town to get back.

"We've asked the council to look into this and we've been told Bus Éireann has the only licence for Salthill.

"So we can ask them to extend their route or ask the NTA (National Transport Authority) to develop a new route and put it to tender.

"There are 28,000 people living in Knocknacarra and they can't directly access Salthill for the language schools and businesses. There wouldn't be as many cars on the road if we looked at this problem," he said.

Another major problem is the lack of a direct route travelling across the city.

The Galway Chamber of Commerce has called for the provision of a bus lane over the Quincentennial Bridge, allowing people to access the many industrial estates located on the east of the city.

Irish Independent

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