by Kathy Masterson
LIMERICK City East Labour Councillor Elena Secas is calling on the Government and the Transport Minister to step in and fund a replacement for the suspended Dublin Coach 307/308 service through a Public Service Obligation as a matter of urgency.
Cllr Secas revealed that she recently received a response from the National Transport Authority stating that they have commenced an evaluation to determine if there is a requirement for the state to provide a service through a Public Service Obligation.
The NTA informed Cllr Secas that it has identified that due to the large population and number of businesses in the area, and the lack of public transport resulting from the withdrawal of the 307/308 bus service, a Public Service Obligation exists.
Cllr Secas said: “The NTA’s evaluation has confirmed what we already know. A large number of people depend on this bus service to travel to work, college, hospital, etc. In fact, it should have never been left to a private operator to provide this service when the route clearly meets the criteria for a Bus Éireann public bus service.
“I am calling now on Minister Eamon Ryan and the Government to commence urgent negotiations with NTA and Bus Éireann to step in and provide a replacement service before the busy autumn commuter and college term begins.
“Although the month of August is traditionally a quieter time of the year, the Department of Transport, NTA and Bus Éireann should engage now to prepare a service specification and to negotiate the implementation with Bus Éireann to ensure the service is up and running smoothly before September.”
She concluded: “This is a clear cut case. Our Government TDs must not sit on their hands, they need to call on Minister Ryan to get this service off the ground as a matter of urgency before September, given the gravity of the situation where quite a large part of Castletroy/Annacotty has been left without any bus service.”