OVER 100 rural villages are to get access to public transport under the Connecting Ireland Plan which was published on October 29.
The plan from the National Transport Authority proposes an overall increase of 25% in rural bus services, significantly increasing public transport connectivity for people living outside major cities and towns.
In Offaly there will be increased bus frequency and some new routes added.
The Lough Boora to Clara bus will serve Pullough, Ballycumber and other places enroute. The proposal is to extend route 840 Pullough to Lough Boora, with an increase in frequency. There will be a minimum service frequency of 3 return trips a day.
The Tullamore to Birr bus, will serve Mucklagh, Kilcormac and other places enroute. There will also be a minimum service frequency of 3 return trips a day.
A new Birr to Portlaoise route via Kinnitty, Clonaslee and Mountmellick will be established. Here too there will be a minimum service of 3 return trips a day.
In Tullamore there will be a bus to Enfield serving Daingean, Rhode, Edenderry, and other places enroute.
There will also be a bus from Mountmellick to Tullamore.
A bus will run from Tullamore to Mullingar serving Kilbeggan, Tyrrellspass, Rochfortbridge and other places enroute.
Tullamore to Tullamore will serve Daingean, Rhode, Edenderry, Walsh Island and other places enroute.
The Portumna to Dublin bus will serve Banagher, Birr, and Tullamore.
The bus from Dublin to Ballina/Westport will serve Tullamore and other places including Athlone
The proposal is to improve access to the range of services available in larger centres at more useful times of the day and week, for those living in rural areas and smaller villages. It will also permit transfer to Regional Services to travel onwards with reliable connections.
Under the plan
70% of people in rural Ireland will have access to public transport service that provides at least three return trips daily to the nearby town. (This compares to the current figure of 53%.)
Over 100 rural villages will benefit from frequent public transport service (at least three return trips daily) for the first time
Over 100 rural areas will benefit from a regular service, at least three return trips daily to their county town for the first time
There will be over 60 new connections to regional cities from surrounding areas.
Improved mobility options for those in remote areas with the provision of Demand Responsive and other innovative transport services
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “This Connecting Ireland plan will significantly increase both the number of routes and the frequency of existing services right across the country. Hundreds of rural villages and areas will for the first time be served by a viable public transport link.
To have strong local economies and to give people real options for getting around you need good public transport links – this plan represents a step-change in delivering good quality public transport in rural Ireland,'' he said.
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