COMMUTERS heading into the city from Castletroy were yesterday left facing delays.
Bus Eireann has apologised for the delays, which customers believe have come about following the merger of the services connecting Raheen and Castletroy.
Three weeks ago, the state bus company overhauled its timetable, with the biggest change being the abolition of the 308 service, and its merger with the 304 Raheen bus.
But at this week’s city council meeting, Cllr Maurice Quinlivan complained the bus service linking the city to Ballynanty had been reduced from half an hour to every hour. He also said that no buses serve Edward Street now, an area in which many elderly people live.
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell is to meet Bus Eireann management following complaints from his constituents in relation to the frequency of services, the suitability of the buses for disabled people, and the fact certain areas are not served.
Yesterday morning, one Castletroy commuter told the Limerick Leader he was waiting more than 45 minutes for a bus to arrive.
“Despite the fact that I am always at the bus stop for 8.30 or earlier the bus does not arrive until approximately 9.15, or in today’s case, 9.25. This is absolutely disgraceful as the bus is advertised to be there at the stop at 15 minute intervals,” he said.
An elderly woman also said mothers with young children were walking away from bus stops and finding their own way to schools, for fear of being late.
She confronted the driver of the bus asking why he was late. But the driver shrugged off her complaint.
Mr O’Donnell said: “I am particularly concerned people with disabilities and elderly people who depend on the bus in order to function continue to get the level of service that they need. Certain areas that were previously served by the busses are now by-passed under the new schedule. This has very far-reaching social consequences, particularly for the elderly and the disabled. Indeed, it may make social interaction difficult for many people around the city.”
Commuters to the city beyond Castletroy are now asked to climb aboard the Shannon Airport coach when coming into the city.
Mr O’Donnell is concerned, because this does not offer step free access like the other services: “This is a potentially significant danger for disabled or elderly people.”
At City Hall, Cllr Kathleen Leddin, Independent, welcomed the fact two bus lines now serve the coach station. But she wants to see a circular bus service going around the city streets, including in pedestrianised areas.
Andrew McLindon, spokesman for Bus Eireann said: “We are aware there have been some delays with the new 304 service, which is on a very busy route traffic wise as it is connects to two areas of the city. We have been actively monitoring this issue and are providing regularly feedback to the National Transport Authority as part of the on-going review of the new network.”