SUIRWAY’s buses will be back on the road on Tuesday after seven months of being parked up due to the Covid-19 crisis, but only for essential workers the locally owned company has confirmed.
Director of Suirway, Brian Lynch told the Waterford News & Star that they are relieved to finally be back rolling.
Prior to the start of the pandemic Suirway operated local commuter bus services to Dunmore East, Passage East, Kilmeaden and Portlaw. After a long seven months with a few bumps in the road, the 608, 609, 610 and 611 routes are set to return on a reduced capacity of 25%.
“It has been a long road to get back, and frankly it has been difficult,” said Brian, who hasn’t stopped working in seven months to get the popular bus services back up and running. “I am delighted to be back, and it is as simple as that. We are happy to put wheels under our customers even at a reduced capacity,” he said. He praised Minister Mary Butler for her work behind the scenes.
Operating throughout a Level 5 lockdown presents a completely different landscape for Suirway, but Brian is confident they will operate while following all the guidelines. “We are fitting Covid screens to our buses to protect our drivers. We will have hand sanitiser on board, and we always had a high standard, but our cleaning regimes have gone to a new level,” he said.
Public transport is currently at 25% capacity to allow those providing essential services to get to work. Mr Lynch discouraged members of the public, who are not essential workers, from trying to avail of Suirway’s services until such time that the 5km restrictions are lifted and the current lockdown is over.
Essentially, the current situation is the NTA is funding bus providers to operate services for essential workers. After the six weeks on December 1, Suirway is hoping increase capacity to 50%, and at that point they will be able to welcome all other bus users in time for the Christmas shopping season.