Limerick regeneration communities forgotten for public transport

Fine Gael Councillor Sarah Kiely on Hyde Road.

LIMERICK councillors have claimed that the city’s Regeneration areas have been forgotten as far as public transport is concerned.

Already disadvantaged with the lowest levels of car ownership, two of the four Regeneration areas in the city are now being left out in the cold in terms of adequate bus services, according to public representatives.

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely proposed at last Monday’s Metropolitan District meeting that an invitation be sent to the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Bus Éireann to appear before the Council to discuss the 301 and 303 bus routes and timetables.

“After 7pm there is no bus service in Hyde Road. This is unacceptable in a time when we are looking for a model shift,” she told the council executive.

“We are pushing people into car ownership instead of providing them with a bus service. Sometimes the bus doesn’t turn up, especially on a Sunday, leaving workers stranded and often late for work.

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“I have had messages from essential workers from the hospital who are very frustrated with the lack of service and total disregard for them.
“It is unacceptable to have such a bad level of service for vulnerable people. Social isolation can be prevented by the provision of transport in the right areas. This is one of these areas.”
Cllr Kiely explained that the 306 service is currently an hourly service that serves the post office stop near Colbert Station then onto Edward Street, Byrne Avenue, then back down to Hyde Road and into the city.
The 301 service, she said, comes from Westbury into the city then to the post office shop at Colbert Station, up Hyde Road, Hyde Avenue onto the Childers Road and out to the Ballinacurra Road to complete the route in Raheen /Dooradoyle.
“This is a half hour service. And again after 7pm the route changes and it leaves communities stranded, reliant on cars for those who have access and for those who don’t or can’t afford a taxi — well tough. You are forgotten about.
“Well, I wont forget about you and I’m hoping my colleagues in this chamber wont either,” the City East representative warned.
Cllr Kiely went onto call for bus services to be restored to workers who provide essential services in “our hospitals, in our communities”.
“It will enable people to come to the city in the evening to socialise, to spend money, to combat isolation, to provide revenue to businesses and then get them home to Hyde Road and to other areas of Prospect and Ballinacurra Weston.”
“In comparison, the 303 service in Rathbane and Janesboro can have three buses in any half hour.
“A great service! Really?
“They are very under used, give one of the staffing positions to the route for Hyde Road, all communities should be equal, however, some are obviously more equal than others.

“We are one community on the Southside, the NTA and Bus Éireann should take note and treat us all equally.”

Supporting her motion, Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan said it was shameful that communities such as Hyde Road and St Mary’s Park were without a bus after 6pm.

“It is absolutely shocking,” he insisted.

Sinn Féin councillor Tom Collopy also concurred with the sentiment of the motion and pointed out that the community of Garryowen had also been forgotten.