BUS Éireann representatives were told by Metropolitan Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler that the reliability of their service is now impacting on “advancement” for the city.
“People can’t make appointments. People can’t get to work. The feeling out there is that you can’t rely on the service,” Mayor Butler said at this Monday’s meeting of the Council’s Travel and Transportation SPC (Strategic Policy Committee).
The Fine Gael representative for Limerick City West also claimed that Bus Éireann’s service is “mixed at best”.
Councillors received a presentation at City Hall from Bus Éireann’s Limerick Services Manager, Bláithin McElligott, and Regional Manager West, Brian Connolly. They informed local representatives about the introduction of punctuality-assessed timetables this April and the more long-term development of the bus network in the city and environs. Councillors were also told of an 8.5 per cent increase in the numbers travelling with Bus Éireann in Limerick this year and that 502 complaints were received last year in relation to the service.
Sinn Féin councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh said the city bus service was “simply not good enough” and called for cooperation and better communication between the Council and Bus Éireann.
The City East representative also called for a bus service on Old Cork Road to be looked at.
“I am five years asking about this and still nothing,” Cllr Ó Ceallaigh declared.
The Sinn Féin politician was then informed by Miss McElligott of Bus Éireann’s plans for a new service for the Old Cork Road. She said this was currently being finalised and would be implemented shortly.
Fianna Fáil councillor Sean Lynch maintained that more people would use the public bus service if they could “alleviate the problems”. He spoke of his recent experience, travelling from the University of Limerick to Raheen by bus, claiming, “If I was fitter it would have been faster to walk”.
“If we had a good service we would all use it,” Cllr Lynch insists.
Regional Manager West for Bus Éireann, Brian Connolly pointed out that only 10 per cent of the roads network incorporates bus lanes. The other 90 per cent, he explained, saw buses share road space with other motorists.
Mr Connolly believes the bus service will see improvements with the implementation of punctuality-assessed timetables this month. “Punctuality, reliability and simplicity of the service” are key, he said.
Phase 2, which will be implemented this summer, will see an increased level of bus services throughout the city.
Director of Services for the Council’s Physical Development Directorate, Brian Kennedy said the local authority is working “very keenly” with Bus Éireann and Gardaí. He also told council members that he is hopeful of improvements to the bus service.