Rural TDs and Senators have demanded that late-night bus services due to begin operations next month run later than 11pm to meet demand. That’s according to today’s Irish Independent.
The Dáil Transport Committee heard that 50 new late-night services across rural Ireland will begin operating between 6pm and 11pm from the end of next month on a six-month trial basis.
The pilot scheme, which will cost €450,000 to operate, will be assessed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) over the following six months before a final decision is taken on whether it should remain. But politicians said service times needed to be reviewed.
Fine Gael senator in Roscommon Frank Feighan told the committee, "I think you really need to review the 6pm to 11pm. I don't think it will work. Maybe 8pm to 1am. People will not go home at 11pm. As someone who owned a pub, I found it harder to get people out than get people in."
Some 30 of the 50 new services will allow drivers to travel off main roads to people's homes in isolated areas. In all, 188 new trips per week will be added to the rural transport network.
Transport Minister Shane Ross said he would ask the NTA to consider whether it should be extended beyond 11pm to account for pub closing hours.