Big plans to overhaul rural bus services in Galway

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Galway Daily news Big plans to overhaul bus services in Galway

Rural bus services in Galway could get a serious boost from the new Connecting Ireland plan put forward by the NTA.

The National Transport Authority is proposing significantly expanding the public transport network outside of major towns and cities for the first time.

The plan proposes connecting 100 rural villages with bus services running at least three times daily, with a similar thrice daily service connecting 100 rural areas to their county town.

There will also be more than 60 new connections to regional cities from the surrounding areas.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said that the plan will see an increase in the “number of routes and the frequency of existing services” to all areas.

“Hundreds of rural villages and areas will for the first time will be served by a viable public transport link.”

“To have strong local economies and to give people real options for getting around you need good public transport links.”

Four new bus routes that would serve towns and villages in Galway have been proposed by the National Transport Authority.

A Galway – Nenagh route would serve Oranmore, Loughrea, Portumna, and Borrisokane; a Clifden – Roundstone service would stop in Ballyconneely and other places.

A Ballinasloe – Castlerea bus route would stop at Ahascragh, Mountbellew, Moylough,
Glenamaddy and other places en route; and an Athlone – Roscommon route would stop at Ballygar.

Other changes would include increasing the frequency of a number of rural routes, such as a minimum of one bus an hour between Galway and Clifden, and one every 30 minute for the Galway – Cork route.

The plans also call for integrating and increasing the number of services on multiple other bus routes connecting towns and villages in Galway.

The full list of proposed service changes for Galway, and the accompanying maps, can be found on the NTA website here.

It is proposed under the Connecting Ireland plan that there will be an overall increase in rural bus services of 25% over the five years.

The Connecting Ireland plan was published by the National Transport Authority for public consultation this week. Public feedback on the proposals can be made online here.

Minister Ryan said that with the €5.6 million budgeted to the NTA for 2022, the authority could start delivering these changes from next year.

“I have asked the NTA when this consultation process is complete, to put together an implementation plan so that we can get to work on making Connecting Ireland a reality sooner rather than later.”

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the NTA, said that they are aware that for many people in rural areas, it is “difficult if not impossible” to live without a car, which they hope to change.

“I believe that expanding the public transport network and increasing service levels, in the way we are proposing, will mean that more people in rural areas will have greater levels of freedom whether or not they have a car.”