Not enough Portlaoise bus stops for Dubln commuters says councillor
Portlaoise commuters to Dublin are forced to walk or cycle up to 12km daily to get to the bus stop from their homes, a Laois councillor has claimed.
Sinn Féin Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley says Portlaoise needs more bus stops.
"It's evident that with the growing population we have, there are residents of places like Bellingham and Maryborough have to walk or cycle in, taking a 4km walk to the bus stop to Dublin. Bus Eireann buses can't stop at undesignated stops. From Fairgreen to Kilminchy and Heathfields is 6km. Not everybody has cars," she said.
She tabled a motion to the June meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District. She asked for an update on the progress of the roll out of proposed new public bus routes and stops for Portlaoise town.
The reply was from Laois County Council's Director of Services for roads Simon Walton.
He said two new routes are on the way for Portlaoise, offering 40 stops altogether.
"Preliminary designs are in place for the Portlaoise Town Bus Service to provide for two bus routes (Collier's Lane to Ballyfin Road and Kilminchy to Bellingham), each serviced by two buses and based on a half hourly service. Between the two routes there are approximately 40 stops including 5 stops in the Town centre where the two routes cojoin," he said.
However progress is slower compared to other towns Mr Walton said.
"It is the case that Portlaoise Town Bus Service is not at as advanced a stage of delivery as other, similar, regional towns. In keeping with Portlaoise's designation as a Low Carbon Town, a recent meeting was held with the National Transport Authority (funding agency) with a view to the NTA expediting the delivery of the Portlaoise Town Bus Service," he said.
"Taking into account Portlaoise's designation as a Low Carbon town, we can't be at the back of a queue for bus services," he said, adding that the meeting with the National Transport Authority by him and the council CEO John Mulholland was "very positive".
Cllr Dwane Stanley welcomed the update.
"We are meant to encourage people to leave cars at home and hop on a bus, hopefully for a reasonable cost. We need to ensure bus shelters go in as well. We usually end up doing a battle afterwards," she said.