Ap­pli­ca­tions ready to be lodged with NTA for more shuttle bus ser­vice routes

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

PRO­POS­ALS are be­fore the National Trans­port Au­thor­ity (NTA) over pro­pos­als for a shuttle bus ser­vice con­nect­ing Wick­low towns and vil­lages.

Lo­cal Link will pro­vide the ser­vice if the ap­pli­ca­tions are suc­cess­ful.

Jackie Melia and Eric Bent­ley ad­dressed Mon­day’s County Coun­cil meet­ing and spoke about the plans they have for po­ten­tial new routes.

The ini­tial routes put for­ward for fund­ing are Wick­low town to Glen­dalough via Rath­new, Ash­ford and Round­wood; Grey­stones Dart Sta­tion to Round­wood via Kil­coole and New­town­moun­tkennedy, and a loop of Grey­stones tak­ing in the Dart Sta­tion, Delgany, Black­lion and Charles­land. Seven day per week, hourly bus ser­vices are be­ing sought. If the ap­pli­ca­tions are suc­cess­ful, it is planned to ap­ply to the NTA for fur­ther routes ser­vic­ing dif­fer­ent parts of the county.

Mr Bent­ley said Lo­cal Link had car­ried out a num­ber of stud­ies be­fore mak­ing the ap­pli­ca­tions, and found that tourists of­ten find it dif­fi­cult to travel to Glen­dalough be­cause of a lack of bus ser­vices.

‘Peo­ple come into Wick­low town on the train or bus ex­pect­ing to be able to get a bus to Glen­dalough only to find they have to go back to Bray or St Stephen’s Green in or­der to get to Glen­dalough,’ said Mr Bent­ley.

Cllr Jen­nifer Whit­more worked closely with Lo­cal Link on the ap­pli­ca­tions and she pro­posed that Wick­low County Coun­cil write to the NTA voic­ing support for the new routes.

‘A huge amount of work has gone into the­ses pro­pos­als,’ said Cllr Whit­more. ‘These routes have been driven on and timed with buses to make sure they are ac­ces­si­ble. This will be an ab­so­lute game changer for these communities. We are talk­ing about a seven day hourly ser­vice. It will be more like a com­mu­nity bus ser­vice. If there is an el­derly woman liv­ing at the bot­tom of a lane-way then the bus can drop her off right at her home with her shop­ping. We need to let the NTA know we support these routes, then they will be more likely to fund fur­ther routes if there is a de­mand.’

Cllr Shay Cullen also of­fered his support. ‘When we talk about tourism and what Wick­low has to of­fer, then cer­tainly Lo­cal Link will help. As it stands we have the un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion where tourists take the St Kevin’s bus to Glen­dalough from Bray or Dublin but they are un­able to visit other towns.’

He pro­posed that all Wick­low’s TDs should be con­tacted to lobby in favour of the pro­posed routes.

Cllr Irene Win­ters said: ‘Lo­cal Link is about more than trans­port. It is about cre­at­ing a ser­vice for communities and build­ing friend­ships along the routes.’

Cllr Vin­cent Blake re­called at­tend­ing the launch of Wick­low Ru­ral Trans­port in Donard back in 2003. Lo­cal Link is the re­place­ment for that ser­vice.

‘It al­lowed peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas to at­tend doc­tor and hospi­tal ap­point­ments, visit larger towns for shop­ping and pro­vided a con­nec­tion to pub­lic ser­vices. It proved a great suc­cess and any ad­di­tional routes will ben­e­fit the communities in­volved.’

Cllr Gerry Walsh said: ‘A lot of re­search has gone into this ini­tia­tive. It will of­fer support to tourism and places such as Glen­dalough. It could also help with the traf­fic is­sue in Glen­dalough. This is some­thing that could help to ad­dress that prob­lem.’

Cllr Jim Rut­tle felt west Wick­low was de­serv­ing of fur­ther routes and ser­vices.

‘There is a huge need for a feeder ser­vice in Bless­ing­ton and the whole Lakes area. Also, we could do with a ser­vice con­nect­ing Naas so peo­ple could ac­cess hospi­tal fa­cil­i­ties or visit the health board.’

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