Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Pictured at the WIT Arena were Sinéad Herarne (AVL Manager, Bus Éireann) and Claire Tully (Vaccination Centre Manager). Photo: John Power

BUS Éireann, in conjunction with the National Transport Authority (NTA) has announced a new shuttle bus service to make travel easier for Covid-19 vaccination appointments at the Waterford Vaccination Centre at the WIT Arena in Carriganore.

The new service, which began today (Tuesday, April 27), will run every 15 minutes, seven days a week in line with the Vaccination Centre operating hours (8am to 8pm).

The first daily journey leaves Plunkett Railway Station at 8am with the last trip returning from the WIT Arena at 8:05pm.

The ‘Route W6 shuttle bus’ will serve the following stops: Plunkett Station (Rail Station); Waterford Bus Station; the city centre; WIT (Cork Road) and WIT Arena (HSE Vaccination Centre). The bus has been planned and funded by the NTA.

According t0 Mick Faherty, Bus Éireann’s Services Manager in Waterford: “We are delighted to be able to support the great work of the HSE at the Vaccination Centre in Waterford, by increasing travel options to and from the centre, in as easy and safe a way as possible. With the service running every 15 minutes, it will be very convenient, however it is very important to advise people that with 25 per cent capacity limits on all public transport, the bus will only be able to carry a maximum of eight passengers at a time.”

The service, according to Bus Éireann, “will be operated using easily accessible low floor, bright interior shuttle buses, providing customers with comfortable seating, a dedicated wheelchair space, a separate designated child space, complimentary Wi-Fi, and CCTV security cameras throughout.”

Said Claire Tully, who is the HSE’s WIT Arena Vaccination Centre Operations Manager: “This shuttle bus service will help to ensure that those with appointments are able to attend and receive their vaccinations as planned.  The WIT Arena Vaccination Centre has 40 individual booths and currently we are vaccinating people [aged 65 to 69] in Waterford.  Travel for vaccination is an essential journey and people can use public transport in accordance with all guidelines.”

The move has been welcomed by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler (FF). “Upon consultation with WIT Novus Operations we determined that a dedicated service to the vaccination centre would be of great assistance to people travelling from across Waterford to receive their vaccination, in particular, older people and those who may experience difficulties due limited mobility,” she said.

“The fare is €2.40 (€1.68 with a Leap Card) and free travel passes will be accepted and please note. It is important for people to note that the 25 per cent capacity restriction is currently still in place for each bus in line with the current public health guidelines.”

Minister Butler added: “The WIT facility has the capacity to vaccinate 40 people every 10 minutes, via 40 individual hubs, once fully operational. This will be a joint effort involving staff form University Hospital Waterford, GPs, Defence Forces, retired GPs and volunteers.

“The WIT Arena is well positioned, with ample parking and ease of access, which will allow a safe and steady flow of people through strategically distanced entrances and exits.”

Bus Éireann has re-iterated the need for passengers to plan their essential journeys and to be aware of the continuing 25 per cent capacity limit on all public transport while face masks must continue to be worn. All of the fleet’s vehicles are touchpoint cleaned throughout the day and deep cleaned overnight.

Minister Butler concluded: “I want to sincerely thank the good offices of the CEOs of the NTA, Bus Éireann and Paraic Fanning, Business Development Manager, WIT Novus Operations for their efforts, assistance, constructive collaboration and delivery.”

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