Plans to Improve Rural Transport across Co. Waterford Gathers Pace

Plans to Improve Rural Transport across Co. Waterford Gathers Pace

The plan to increase and improve rural transport, a key Green Party led commitment in the Programme for Government, took another important step forward this week with the publication of the 2022 Implementation Schedule for the Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan, which includes proposals for new bus routes across Co. Waterford.

It signals the first year of Connecting Ireland funding as part of a €55 million Green Party led commitment in the Programme for Government to radically improve rural public transport.

This comes on the back of a 20% reduction in public transport fares introduced already this year, the first such reduction in 75 years, and a 50% reduction in travel for young adults (between 19 and 23). Early indications show a 10% increase in public transport uptake outside the greater Dublin area since costs were lowered.

Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Green Party TD for Waterford welcomed the updated proposals from the NTA:

“The three routes proposed for priority development in this year’s plan answer specific transport needs in the west of the county. Extending the 361 route from Dungarvan all the way into Youghal and increasing frequency will help connect people in An Rinn and Ardmore to services and onward transport connections.

The Lismore to Youghal route will open up public transport services to the likes of Villierstown, Aglish and Clashmore and I believe will greatly augment the tourism offering along St. Declan’s Way. And a public transport connection between Dungarvan and Clonmel has been long called for and will be of huge benefit to Ballymacarbery in particular.”

“These three routes will move to Planning and Design phase in Q4 of this year, but it’s my understanding that we can hope to see buses on these routes before the end of 2022.”

“We are committed to ensuring that we have a more affordable, more accessible, more efficient and more frequent rural public transport service. This first phase of the Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan sets out what can be achieved this year, as another vital initial step towards transforming the way people can get around this country over the coming year.”

“Providing high quality public transport in rural areas can be challenging, but Waterford Local Link has shown the way, with the existing service between Lismore and Dungarvan showing some of the strongest passenger numbers. I believe the appetite is there if the service is there.”

“We have reduced transport fares, something we will work hard to continue, and now we are committed to increasing rural transport availability and frequency.”

The Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan is an ambitious programme of work to create a more integrated, accessible and sustainable public transport network for rural Ireland. The National Transport Authority (NTA) published Phase One of the Implementation Plan which includes an outline of the new routes that have already come into operation, routes that are to go into procurement, and routes that are expected to go into the planning and design phase.