Leahy: We must embrace new drink-link rural bus service
Offaly County Councillor and Renua leader, John Leahy, has called on people to embrace the new drink link bus service introduced by Transport Minister Shane Ross last week.
"The government’s new transport initiative is redolent of the old saying that half a loaf of bread is better than no loaf at all," he said.
“In truth it might be more accurate to say that when it comes to the new ‘drink-link’ service in Laois and Offaly we are getting a slice of bread rather than even half a loaf. However, we are getting something, and we should make the most of it. Anyone can complain about everything but there has been too much political soap opera and score setting surrounding the new proposal," Leahy continued.
“It is only a pilot and it should be noted that it is a proposal that will potentially reduce social isolation and allow rural dwellers access to social events like bingo, visit neighbours or go the pub on a Friday and Saturday night and Sundays on the Bank Holidays," he added.
“The people of Kinnitty, Clareen, Emo, Mountrath, Castletown and other areas will certainly not object to more public transport. It is the first time in a long time they won’t be getting less."
The Offaly County Councillor also warned: "the Demand Responsive Transport status of these services, where the passenger intending to travel must pre-book their seat as the bus operates a door to door service, means we have a responsibility to publicise the new service as much as possible," John noted.
“This ‘use it or lose it’ scenario means the hurlers on the ditch should put politics to one side, tell your neighbours and ensure we help create the scenario where Laois and Offaly Councils have to live up to their pledge to double the current service.”
He continued: "We should refrain from using this as a political football and instead try and replicate the success of the current Local Link buses."
“This now, after a low-key start, has just under 60 fixed and flexible services a week, that complete on average 260 trips a week and carried over 75,000 passengers across Laois and Offaly for social, educational and medical needs in 2017."
“Three services are a small start, but if they thrive we can, like Local Link, work towards doubling and tripling the service. Renua Ireland will certainly be working towards driving this service on in every sense of the term," Leahy concluded.
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