SOuth Laois finally has a new bus service, following Bus Eireann’s decision to stop serving the area last June.
M & A Coaches from Ballyragget have stepped into the breach, and last Saturday, November 17 at The Castle Arms, Durrow, they launched their service.
Michael Dowling, managing director said that he was looking forward to serving his new customers.
“We have eight official stops on the route, and with no State subvention provided for this service, we are offering half price fares for all current free travel pass holders,” he said.
The coaches will service towns and villages between Urlingford and Portlaoise seven days a week, twice a day, linking with Dublin. Limerick and Cork busses and trains in Portlaoise, at times to suit commuters.
The route was suspended by Bus Eireann last June, prompting a public meeting to be called by South Laois Tourism to a packed out room in the Castle Arms, showing the anger and worry in the community.
An action committee was set up, of Michael G Phelan, Stephanie Phelan, Barbara Walsh, Seosamh Murphy, Brian Maher, Kevin Dolan, Paddy Fitzpatrick and Maeve Sookram, Deputies Sean Fleming, Brian Stanley, and Charles Flanagan and councillors Maurice Shortall, Mary Hilda Kavanagh, Marty Phelan, Brendan Phelan and JJ Fennelly.
Following a series of meetings with the National Transport Authority and Bus Eireann, an interim service was established to run until a permanent private service was secured.
“We are in no doubt that this new service wouldn’t have happened without that pressure. It would have just slipped away quietly, Now we have our new service, and it will probably work out even better, but we urge the public to use it,” said chairman Michael G Phelan.
Bus timetables are in the South Laois Tourist Office, 087 6015862 or www.southlaois.com.