Unreliability of bus services frustrates McDonnell and commuters

Independent City Councillor Declan McDonnell has highlighted the frustration of bus users on some of the busiest routes in the city over no-shows or delayed arrivals.

He said he had received numerous complaints on doorsteps during his campaign for re-election in Galway City East about a lack of reliability with regard to certain routes.

Most of the complaints centred on Bus Éireann’s route 401, running from Parkmore to Salthill via Eyre Square; route 405, operating between Ballybane and Gort na Bró, Rahoon, through Eyre Square; and route 407 between Bóthar an Chóiste and Eyre Square.

“The problem arises on days when there is heavy traffic in town, sometimes as a result of a big match in Pearse Stadium or the Sportsground, or when there is a festival on, or some other event that attracts crowds and increases vehicle volumes on the roads.

“But it’s happening with greater regularity, even on days when there is no obvious cause,” he said.

“So many people have told me of their frustration waiting at bus stops on the east of the city on days like this, when the bus doesn’t show up, or maybe it shows up very late and they have already given up on it.

“As a result, they are missing dental or doctor’s appointments, ending up being late for work or college and their day is totally messed up,” he added.

Councillor McDonnell said that at least part of the solution lay with the National Transport Authority, who needed to allocate extra funding to Bus Éireann to enable them put on extra services at pinch times.

“If they get that extra funding, what they should do, particularly in the case of the routes that travel to either side of the city, is to have buses running from Parkmore or Ballybane only as far as Eyre Square and back, and do the same on the Rahoon and Salthill side.

“That way, buses being held up because of a big match in Pearse Stadium, for instance, would not affect passengers on the other side of town and vice versa. But it’s up to the NTA to give them the funding for that.”

Councillor McDonnell said that another measure that would alleviate the problem would be to have an increased number of junctions where an extra lane is provided for buses, with traffic lights set to allow them priority to go through.

He stressed that it was crucial that intending bus users could be assured that buses would arrive on time.

“Huge emphasis is being placed these days on the importance of getting people out of their cars and onto public transport. But to achieve that, people must be confident that the service will be reliable and won’t leave them in the lurch,” he added.

 

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