11pm shutdown on rural transport not acceptable – Munster
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has called on the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to extend the planned evening and nighttime LocalLink services at weekends to ensure that people living in rural areas can socialise safely in their localities, and to improve road safety.
Deputy Munster was questioning the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, at the Oireachtas Transport Committee, where she raised concerns about the pilot programme for evening LocalLink services.
Deputy Munster said:
“Any move to improve services for people in rural and isolated areas is to be welcomed. However, my concern is that this plan does not actually deal with the problem it was designed to solve.
“We know that Minister Ross introduced these measures to placate rural TDs on his side of the house who were opposed to his drink driving legislation, the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2018. I have worries that it is being treated as a box-ticking exercise, rather than as an opportunity to improve services in areas that are seriously lacking in transport.
“The new transport services will run until 11pm. I would like to see them operate until perhaps midnight on weekend nights, to ensure that most people who require transport can be brought home safely. The additional hour’s service would make a huge difference in that regard.
“I also put it to the Minister that the services should be door to door. If the new LocalLink services are going to leave people, including the elderly, walking several miles from drop-off points late at night, it’s not a satisfactory service.”
The Minister has agreed to review the service at the end of the year and will take on board the issues raised by Oireachtas members at the Transport Committee.