Bus Éireann announces significant service expansion in number of counties
120 additional drivers to be hired as new routes and more frequent services put in place
The development has been described by the semi-State company as the ‘most significant single enhancement of services in more than 15 years’. File photograph: Aidan Crawley
Bus Éireann has announced a significant expansion of bus services in a number of areas, with 120 additional drivers to be hired by the company.
Bus services in Cork city centre will be increased, as well as more frequent services in Navan town, Co Meath, Drogheda, Co Louth, Limerick city, and counties Clare and Tipperary.
The development has been described by the semi-State transport company as the “most significant single enhancement of services in more than 15 years”.
Recruitment for some of the new 120 bus drivers is still ongoing, and women make up 15 per cent of the new drivers hired to date. This follows efforts in recent years by the company to encourage more women to apply for driver roles.
The funding for the increased services is provided by the National Transport Authority (NTA), and was announced in the Government’s July stimulus plan.
The announcement comes three months after Bus Éireann announced it was suspending several intercity Expressway services due to financial pressure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Dublin-Belfast route was closed in November, while the company said it was also suspending Expressway services from Dublin to Cork, Galway and Limerick.
The new services announced on Monday, and increased frequency on existing routes, will amount to an extra three million kilometres of bus journeys nationwide per year.
The extra routes will include a full town service in Navan from the end of this week, up from one bus a day to two routes running every half hour, served by five buses.
A new cross city service will be rolled out in Cork linking Glanmire with Cork University Hospital, with the frequency of services from Glanmire to the city centre increased to three buses an hour.
Portroe, Co Tipperary, will have a daily bus route to Limerick and Nenagh for the first time, with the existing service between Scarriff in Clare and Limerick to now include weekend buses.
Drogheda, Co Louth, is to see an extra two new routes with a combined 15 minute frequency, seven days a week, from December 20th. Some residential areas not previously covered by bus routes will be linked to the town centre as part of the new service.
Other areas that will benefit from the improved services include Limerick city, west Clare, with commuter routes serving the greater Dublin area to see improved punctuality and reliability, Bus Éireann said.
Bus Éireann chief executive Stephen Kent said the improved services would help provide for “more balanced regional development and growth” in towns and cities.
He said this was more timely than ever “as people consider new and more flexible ways of working and living,” due to Covid-19.
“To be recruiting drivers nine months into a pandemic is very positive and we are delighted to see that more women are starting to see it as a career for them as well,” he said.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the extra bus routes “will mean that public transport will be a viable option for more people outside Dublin than ever before”.
NTA chief executive Anne Graham said each of the new routes had been “carefully considered and created to meet either increased demand or to address gaps in existing services”.