Community representatives in Achill have expressed their disappointment with the withdrawal of the Achill to Galway bus service due to cuts in the Rural Transport Programme.
The Achill to Galway service was provided under the Rural Transport Programme and was mainly used by passengers travelling to Galway for hospital appointments and day procedures.
However, the service has been withdrawn since the end of March and Pat Kilbane, Chairman of Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla feels the latest decision will further marginalises people living in rural areas. He said that people living in the parish of Achill who have hospital appointments now cannot to make the return journey by public transport without having to pay for overnight accommodation.
"The Galway Rural Transport Service was a fantastic solution to that problem and those who used the bus were very appreciative of the service. Considering the age profile of our clients, this latest budget cut brings back that hardship and leaves people in a very difficult situation,” he said.
Further change has been introduced into the co-ordination of the Rural Transport Service in Achill, with the administration of the service now being centralised to the Mayo North East office in Foxford.
In the past, users of the service contacted the offices of Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla with requests to travel. However, from they must now contact the operators directly.
Terence Dever, CEO of CFÁA stated that “This latest change is bringing the Achill RTP operation into line with the county system … [However] the offices of CFÁA were delighted to have co-ordinated this service for the parish of Achill for many years."
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