Active retirement group slams ‘booze bus’ plans
EVENING BUS ‘WON’T MEET THE NEEDS OF AUGHRIM COMMUNITY’
A NEW Friday evening rural transport route connecting a number of south Wicklow villages to Arklow has been criticised by the Aughrim Active Retirement Group, which has branded it a ‘booze bus’ which does not offer meaningful transport to those who need it most.
The group has been lobbying for improved rural transport links for many years, and chairperson Margaret Brady expressed disappointment that an evening service would be introduced before a much-needed daytime service.
Addressing members of Arklow Municipal District at their May meeting which was held in Aughrim, Ms Brady said that the Active Retirement Group has been lobbying Local Link for some time seeking transport which would enable access to Arklow town during business hours to facilitate medical appointments.
‘Having participated in consultations on public transport services, we were very disappointed to learn in the Wicklow People that, instead of providing meaningful public transport services for people in Aughrim, tax payers will be funding three booze buses every Friday passing through Aughrim. While this has been welcomed by some councillors, we feel the need to point out that instead of improving the quality of life of the majority of people in the Aughrim area, this service will only service to facilitate alcohol consumption and provide financial benefit to members of the Vintners’ Federation,’ Ms Brady said.
She also highlighted comments by Minister for Transport Shane Ross, indicating that publicans should arrange transport options for customers, but said that a year later, ‘the Minister appears to have decided that instead, we tax payers should provide this service on their behalf ’.
According to Ms Brady, older people in Aughrim, in particular, are very isolated by the lack of rural transport services and very often have no choice but to pay €50 for a return taxi journey to attend healthcare appointments. She called for meaningful measures to be put in place to provide transport services for those who need them.
Margaret Brady of Aughrim Active Retirement.