A RECENT motion from councillors seeking bus shelters in Askeaton and Rathkeale had its goalposts moved to include the entire municipal district this week.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Adare-Rathkeale area, Fianna Fáil councillor Kevin Sheahan told the council executive, that after numerous calls from people in other areas, that he would now like to see his proposal include other towns and villages in the district.
The former Limerick Mayor backtracked on his original motion, due to public demand for bus shelters, and urged the Council to write to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan on the matter.
“We want more people to use public transport but it is not a done deal if we do not have the appropriate shelter structures for the people,” Cllr Sheahan insisted.
“Minister Ryan has expressed the will to provide money for buses, however, this is no good to people in rural areas if they don’t have bus shelters. We need to write to the Minister and let him know that the buses are on time but the showers are on time as well.”
Fine Gael councillor Adam Teskey took the view that the local authority also has a role to play and urged them to light up bus stops in country towns and villages.
”There needs to be a minimum standard requirement for adequate traffic calming, lighting and lay-bys at bus stops,” he insisted.
Fianna Fáil councillor Birdie Collins took the view that more people would be inclined to use public transport in the county if bus shelters were provided. She also called on the council to carry out an audit on all bus stops throughout the district.
Independent councillor John O’Donoghue was also of the view that the cart was being put before the horse.
”We need bus shelters first. Otherwise there’s no point having buses,” he declared.
Cllr Kevin Sheahan also suggested that mini buses would be more appropriate when serving some rural areas where demand isn’t so high.
However, Cllr Teskey then brought it to the council’s attention that the bus into Limerick City from Rathkeale in the mornings is “oversubscribed”. He made out that many third level students who could not find accommodation in the city were instead renting as far out as Abbeyfeale and Newcastle West, driving up demand for bus services.
“We are leaving about 20 people at the side of the road. We are abandoning them as they try and get to their place of employment. We are leaving them down,” he concluded.