Bus services to Tramore to be enhanced amid criticism

Bus services to Tramore to be enhanced amid criticism
Bus cancellations in Waterford last weekend led to anger, frustration and one person having to sleep outside, according to a Waterford TD.
Marc O'Cathasaigh raised the matter in the Dail last night in the wake of widespread cancellations of the service between Waterford and Tramore, Cork and Rosslare.
The Green party deputy said it wasn't the first time the issue had arose:
"The upshot of these cancellations is that many passengers were left high and dry, either waiting for a bus that was not coming or having been told that the service was at capacity and that they could not get on. Moreover, and this particularly applies to the longer intercity Expressway routes, people just were not informed in time to make alternative plans. People were left feeling angry and let down and they struggled to find an alternative way to travel. I know of one case in particular where the last intercity service was cancelled and the person had to sleep out for the night, having no alternative.

"This is not an isolated incident and these cancellations are happening on an ongoing basis. It is leading to a situation where people feel they cannot rely on the public transport service operating out of Waterford."

New Services

Responding Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, who was standing in for the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said that new bus services between Waterford and Tramore were coming on stream from Sunday for the summer:
"Bus Éireann has advised that, regrettably, it has experienced operational issues in recent weeks that have impacted on service delivery in the Waterford area. I understand that while the majority of services in Waterford have continued to operate as scheduled, a small number, less than 5% of the scheduled services in Waterford, were impacted and therefore did not operate.
"Bus Éireann has advised that the issues with these services have largely been due to staff shortages in the region... A further contributing factor has been the significant increase in congestion in Waterford in recent months due to the higher traffic volumes following the relaxation of some Covid-19 restrictions... Some local traffic diversions have been in place in Waterford city to facilitate local business, which have impacted on city bus routes and schedules.

"I understand that the Minister, Deputy Ryan, has been assured by Bus Eireann that it is addressing the issue of driver availability and that it is well advanced in its recruitment process in Waterford, with a number of these new positions due to start this weekend and more to follow. I am pleased to advise that Bus Éireann is due to commence additional summer services for Waterford to Tramore this Sunday. These services will double the frequency between midday and 7 p.m. and provide additional capacity to those travelling to the newly refurbished terminus in Tramore."

'Issues at Waterford depot'

However, Deputy O'Cathasaigh expressed some scepticism at this:

"To say that some of the services were cancelled due to increased traffic in June, when schools are finished and the traffic is lighter, is risible, as is saying that local traffic diversions have for some reason cancelled intercity services from Waterford to Dublin Airport. I do not envy the Minister of State having to sit there but that was not an answer. Bus Éireann said there are staffing shortages but it will double the service from next week. How can I put those two things together? Last week, Bus Éireann was short-staffed. It was not just for one day since this has been ongoing. It was short-staffed and could not provide the scheduled service but it says it will double the service next week. I know there are issues in the Waterford depot."


The Waterford TD asked that Deputy Noonan relay that message to the Minister for Transport in the clearest possible terms. And he said he would do that.

Winding up the interaction the Ceann Comhairle Sean O'Fearghail thanked the Minister of State "for his helpfulness" and said:

"It seems that we have another reply for the waffle box."