New transport service in Kerry

Marisa Reidy

KERRY has become the first county in Ireland to establish a Transport Coordination Unit (TCU), which will secure the county's rural transport programme and ensure that services are protected and enhanced for people in isolated rural communities.

Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly formally opened Ireland's first TCU - Kerry Community Transport - which will act as the local hub and dispatch centre for coordinating public transport for Kerry under the local link.

Kerry Community Transport Ltd (KCT) has been delivering rural transport services in Kerry since 2002, and while transport services in Kerry will continue to operate as normal, they will now operate under the 'Local Link Kerry' brand with funding provided by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport through the National Transport Authority. Kerry Community Transport will be linked with the local authority and will devise an annual public transport plan for the county as well as assisting in the administration of rural hackneys and other forms of community based transport provision.

Kerry Community Transport chair, Brendan O'Connor, welcomed the news that the new rural transport group will guarantee the future provision of rural transport services by ensuring that those services are mainstreamed as subsidised public transport services.

"Kerry Community Transport welcomes Minister Alan Kelly's visit to Kerry and believes the launch of Local Link will put rural transport in Kerry on a firmer footing under the National Transport Authority, he said.

"We look forward to working with the National Transport Authority to enhance and develop co-ordinated services. Greater integration of state funded services can promote greater efficiencies."

Speaking in Scartaglin on Friday, Minister Kelly emphasised the importance of the initiative.

"For the people who rely on their services, it is a truly life-changing experience giving people access to their local services who otherwise may be confined to their homes," he said. "It offers people a lifeline and with these reforms, the rural transport programme can develop further in the future."