Tuesday 21 November 2017

Roads are clogged as cars take over

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Commuters in the West of the country faced long traffic backlogs as a lack of bus services forced more to take to their cars.

Galway's city bus routes were seriously impacted by the strike, as Bus Éireann operates the vast majority of the city's bus routes.

A number of private operators who cover sections of the city and surrounding towns continued to run as normal, including City Direct, Burkes Bus and Bus Link.

However, traffic remained heavy in the city from early afternoon as bank holiday traffic was worsened by a surge in car numbers.

The bike scheme in the city also proved popular for many throughout the day as the rain stayed off.

Bus Éireann workers picketed outside the Galway depot from early morning and vowed to continue their protest.

"We will keep going as long as it takes. If nothing changes, we will strike again," said one picketer.

Geraldine Lohan, of Lohan's bar and restaurant in Salthill, said they may be forced to reduce staffing numbers tomorrow after they saw a dramatic fall-off in customers.

The seaside village also suffered from a significant drop in the numbers of pensioners travelling out from the city to enjoy the prom and amusement arcades, according to local businesses.

Businesses in Galway city were also seriously affected by the strike.

Several said they had seen a significant downturn in business, with the traditional surge in customers coming in from rural areas on a Friday stopped completely as a result of the strike.

Tourists are also set to be badly affected by the strike.

The AA had predicted a surge in overseas visitors to Galway this bank holiday weekend after the county became the most downloaded route on its Routeplanner app.

Data collected by AA Routeplanner over last year's May bank holiday saw Galway attract more than a thousand route downloads over the period.

Irish Independent

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