An online petition is demanding that Bus Éireann swiftly remedies the ongoing absence of public transport servicing Dunmore East.
Calling for a double decker bus to operate on the Waterford to Dunmore route, People Before Profit’s Una Dunphy said such a service “must be in place before the schools re-open”.
Ms Dunphy said Bus Éireann’s public service remit “is the key to resolving the issue in Dunmore and around the country…it’s been the same with private operators in cities (such as Galway) and other areas of the country, where routes were given over to private operators, or where private services operated since the foundation of the State, such as the Waterford to Dunmore route”.
She continued: “People can’t afford €20 each way in taxis to visit the city for work, shopping, for doctor or Hospital appointments, or to visit relatives. They haven’t got train or Inter City bus services. and young people can’t get to town to meet their friends or to shop. The Bus Éireann city service should be extended to provide the Dunmore route, with double decker buses to carry more passengers whilst facilitating social distancing.”
The long-established (and privately operated) Suirway service between Dunmore and Waterford is not running at present due to the negative economics catalysed by the pandemic.
When interviewed by Claire Quinn in mid-July, Suirway Director Brian Lynch told the Waterford News & Star: “Sadly, as the country begins to open up, many of our local commuter clients still have no local bus service operating and this is a matter of great concern to us.”
He added: “If I have a 50-seater bus operating on a local route and have 25 passengers on board, come to passenger number 26 I have to put on another bus and driver on to take that extra customer… It is a low margin operation and we need critical mass. We work on the basis that we need our buses to be almost full to break even.”
Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Suirway ran commuter bus services to Dunmore East, Passage East and Portlaw.
Ms Dunphy concluded: “Reliable restored routes are essential not only to public service but in the interest of reducing emissions – Bus Éireann can and should provide a double decker service to Dunmore, ahead of schools’ reopening.”
You can access the Dunmore East petition at: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/double-deckers-for-dunmore