'Strip Bus Eireann of Limerick city services’: Call for council to be responsible for transport

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Call: John Moran

Call: John Moran

THE former secretary general at the Department of Finance John Moran wants Bus Eireann stripped of the responsibility for operating Limerick’s bus network.

Instead, Mr Moran, who is involved in the #LiveableLimerick campign, wants the local authority to take over the running of services which he describes as “woeful” at present.

It comes with passengers complaining of a litany of delays and no-shows on the city’s bus routes – and fares increasing to €2.40 for a single, and almost €5 for a day saver, over the weekend.

In a tweet posted in response to a complaint of another delay, Mr Moran, chair of the Hunt Museum, said: “Time to give public transport decisions and responsibility to Limerick Council – let them act locally. Forget Bus Eireann in Dublin.”

”It makes no sense to have a local authority looking after roads and transport like cars, but not able to make co-ordinated decisions on their own about public transport. As the local authority in Limerick, I think the population of Limerick expect them to be answerable for late buses.

“If they are going to be answerable, they should have the authority and responsibility to change it,” Mr Moran said.

Mr Moran’s call was supported by Independent councillor Frankie Daly, the chairman of the transport committee, who said: “It needs to be done locally. We need closer alignment with Bus Eireann.”

“It’s a bottom up approach we need. The more powers we have and the less bureaucracy there is, the better. The frustration of the public is incredible,” he said.

Mr Moran believes more regular services should serve the city centre, adding: “The reality is if we want to get to a more modern city, we should be seeing electric buses on the streets of Limerick, and enough of them so people never feel it is quicker to grab a car to go places.”

“The council understands in ways which are way better than Dublin. If we are serious about growing cities like Limerick, Dublin needs to give up on this micro-management,” he added.

The semi-state bus firm operates seven services in the city, as well as less regular routes to rural county Limerick, and twice-hourly services to Shannon Airport.

Two routes run privately on the university corridor.

In response, a spokesperson for Bus Eireann pointed out that journeys in Limerick have risen by 20%, and further enhancements to the network are planned for early 2019.

"Bus Éireann operates seven services in Limerick City that, from time to time, can be affected by unusually high levels of traffic congestion. We always endeavour to provide services as advertised however operational issues and traffic congestion can at times impact on our service levels. All services are continually monitored in order to ensure service reliability and punctuality, this function is overseen by staff in our control office in Limerick. Where required, necessary interventions are made in order to ensure service levels are maintained and passenger disruption is minimised," the spokesperson added.