Bus Éireann has been announced as the preferred bidder for five bus routes in Waterford city.
It followed a competitive process involving five bids from Irish and international firms.
The The National Transport Authority says it will be formally sending a detailed Letter of Intent to Bus Éireann in the coming weeks.
Waterford Junior Minister John Halligan described the decision as a ‘positive decision for both the company’s local workforce and the local community’.
And Minister Halligan has particularly welcomed the immediate increase in services, notably the 604 Carrickphierish Road – The Quay route which, he said, was long overdue.
The investment, the Minister added, will provide Waterford city with a ‘thoroughly modern public transport service’:
“Bus Éireann is to purchase 17 new low emission buses for the Waterford services, which will generate about 30% less carbon emission than standard diesel buses and be fitted with various technologies that capture and use energy normally lost through braking, making them very fuel efficient. USB chargers will be installed at every seat and WIFI will be available throughout. Not only will this investment provide a thoroughly modern service for passengers in Waterford, but it is also excellent news for the environment.
“I am especially pleased that all the buses will have a wheelchair space and a buggy space, plus a motorised ramp at the entrance door. Older people and parents with buggies have traditionally depended on the routes linking The Quay to upper parts of the city and this improvement will greatly enhance their journey.”
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin TD for Waterford, also welcomed the decision:
“This is a vindication of the Bus Éireann funding model. It challenges the myth that public transport companies are not competitive. Bus Éireann is an essential part of our public transport network. ”