Rural Communities bear the brunt of Public Transport Cuts – BREEN.

January 29th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has warned today that other Clare Rural Bus Services could face the axe after Bus Eireann announced details of the first stage of their cost cutting programme which includes proposals to discontinue their 9.30 a.m. and 18.20 services from Miltown Malbay.

“Today’s news does not bode well for other towns and villages in County Clare. The reality is that while Bus Eireann’s passenger numbers have fallen by 10%, the first services to fall victim to the Company’s cost cutting measures are Rural Services.”

“As a result of today’s announcement, Miltown Malbay will now be without a Public Transport Service after 3.00p.m in the day. The loss of this service will adversely affect the people of the area, especially the elderly, who will be left more rurally isolated. It will also have a big impact during the internationally renowned Willie Clancy Festival, when thousands of visitors descend on the West Clare Town.”

“I welcome the fact that on this occasion, Bus Eireann services from Kilkee are not affected, especially when the future of the Tourist Office in West Clare’s Premier Town could be facing closure. However, this threat to services from Kilkee and indeed other Towns and Villages in County Clare could be short lived. Bus Eireann are set to announce the second phase of their cost cutting plan in the next number of weeks when they are expected to outline plans to axe a further 30 routes with alterations to 70 other services.”

“Once again, it is Rural Communities who have to bear the brunt of cuts in public services. We are losing our Garda Stations and Post Offices and now we are losing our Public Transport Services.”

“This Government must now review their Rural Initiatives and provide and target funding to support schemes like Clare Accessible Transport. Many of communities are now being totally cut off. There is a Social Dimension to all of this and as Companies like Bus Eireann battle against declining passenger numbers and falling revenues, many of our rural towns and villages will be left without any public transport service at all.”