Friday 29th October
Press Release from National Transport Authority (NTA)
The National Transport Authority (NTA) is proposing an overall increase of approximately 25% in rural bus services as part of the five-year Connecting Ireland plan that was published for public consultation today.
The Connecting Ireland plan is a major national public transport initiative developed by the NTA with the aim of increasing public transport connectivity, particularly for people living outside our major cities and towns. The plan aligns with the current national policy framework including the Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, Project Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action Plan.
Connecting Ireland proposes to expand the public transport network in rural areas and to increase service levels. As a result:
- 70% of people in rural Ireland will have access to public transport service that provides at least three return trips daily to the nearby town. (This compares to the current figure of 53%.)
- Over 100 rural villages will benefit from frequent public transport service (at least three return trips daily) for the first time
- Over 100 rural areas will benefit from a regular service, at least three return trips daily to their county town for the first time
- There will be over 60 new connections to regional cities from surrounding areas.
- Improved mobility options for those in remote areas with the provision of Demand Responsive and other innovative transport services
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “This Connecting Ireland plan will significantly increase both the number of routes and the frequency of existing services right across the country. Hundreds of rural villages and areas will for the first time will be served by a viable public transport link.
“To have strong local economies and to give people real options for getting around you need good public transport links – this plan represents a step-change in delivering good quality public transport in rural Ireland.
“If we are to deliver on our emissions targets, we need to make sure that people have the services and alternatives they need. My department allocated €5.6m from budget 2022 to the NTA so that as early as next year the NTA can begin investing in these services and giving people those alternatives.”
Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA said: “Connecting Ireland is among the most important plans that NTA has produced in recent years.
“Our TFI Local Link network operates in every part of the country and the local knowledge we have gathered over the years through our Local Link offices has been invaluable to us in putting together these plans.
“We know that for many people, living in a village or in a rural area can mean that accessing services, or employment, or education, or even retail is difficult if not impossible, without using a private car. We want to change that.
The full summary report and interactive maps by county are available from the new dedicated webpage: Connecting Ireland – National Transport
HAVE YOUR SAY
The National Transport Authority wants your views on its proposals to improve public transport in rural Ireland. The Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan is an ambitious programme of enhancements to create a more integrated, accessible, and sustainable public transport network for rural Ireland. This consultation process launches the start of a five-year programme of work. To view the proposals and share your feedback visit: nationaltransport.ie/connecting-ireland
What will Connecting Ireland mean for Laois?
- Enhanced interurban services between Portlaoise and Dublin, Nenagh and Limerick and between Portlaoise and Kilkenny, Tullamore and Athlone.
- New interurban bus services between Portlaoise via Athy, Carlow and Enniscorthy to Wexford Town.
- New local bus route from Birr via Kinnity, Clonaslee and Mountmellick to Portlaoise.
- New local bus route from Mullingar via Edenderry, Clonbullogue and Portarlington to Portlaoise.
- New local bus route from Abbeyleix via The Swan to Carlow.
What will Connecting Ireland mean for Offaly?
- New interurban bus services between Athlone via Clara, Tullamore and Portlaoise and Kilkenny.
- New interurban bus services between Athlone via Ferbane, Birr, Nenagh and Thurles and Clonmel.
- New Shannonside local bus route between Athlone via Shannonbridge, Banagher, Birr, Roscrea and Thurles.
- New local bus services from Birr via Kinnity, Clonaslee and Mountmellick to Portlaoise, and from Mullingar via Edenderry, Clonbullogue and Portarlington to Portlaoise.
- Enhanced local bus connections between Tullamore and Birr.