NTA approve new operator to replace former Arklow 133 bus route
Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has confirmed that the NTA has approved an application from a commercial bus operator to start a new service through Gorey, Arklow and Dublin, which would “essentially replicate the previous 133 Bus Éireann service”.
This latest news comes after elected Arklow Councillors called for a survey of local bus services in response to the highly-controversial cessation of Bus Éireann’s 133 bus routes through the town.
Unaware of Bus Éireann’s sweeping changes, Arklow residents were left in the lurch earlier this month when they discovered that “enhancements” on the 131 and 133 routes resulted in the consolidation of the former 133B, 133L and 133X routes and the removal of the Arklow service.
Outlining her communication with the NTA, Deputy Whitmore said: “Whilst the recent upgrade to the 133 has improved services for many commuters, particularly those in Wicklow town, it also resulted in the withdrawal of the 133x from the Gorey and Arklow service to Dublin.
“This has caused huge frustration and difficulties for its regular users in those towns, and I was contacted by many constituents in relation to these changes. I have been in touch with the NTA in relation to this reduced service to express my concerns about the impact of those changes on residents.
“I have been informed this evening that a commercial operator has applied to operate a service which would essentially replicate the previous Bus Eireann service and that the NTA has approved this application. The next step is for the applicant to submit the required documentation and approvals to the Authority within 6 weeks. Once that happens, the licence can be issued.
“Whilst this is positive news, I will be following up with the NTA to get further details and to examine whether additional improvements can be made to the service if the new operator does get their licence approved.
“This decision also demonstrates that the service was a needed one, and it does beg the question as to why the service was dropped in the first place and what people are meant to do in the two to three months before the new service is up and running.
“I will be back in touch with the NTA in relation to this and will provide further details as I get them.”