FIANNA Fáil TD Lisa Chambers has criticised the new ‘streamlined’ Route 52 bus service from Ballina to Galway after a number of east Mayo towns were omitted from the route.
Bus Éireann announced a number of changes to their services along the Ballina-Castlebar-Westport-Galway corridor designed to bring ‘major benefits’ to customers along the route.
The new services came into effect on Sunday, July 1. Commenting on the Route 52 changes, Bus Éireann said ‘customers can avail of a new, simplified routing between the two destinations, with additional departures daily’.
The Route 52 service will now by-pass Swinford, Knock and Kiltimagh. Bus Éireann has brought in a new daily service, Route 421, for these towns, and it will link with the Route 52 service in Claremorris.
However, Mayo TD Lisa Chambers has hit out at Bus Éireann for ‘axing’ Swinford and Kiltimagh from Route 52.
“Despite claiming that it had no intention of reducing the service Bus Éireann has now announced that it’s changing the service, essentially removing Swinford and Kiltimagh from Route 52,” she said. “This will have a huge impact on locals in these towns and surrounding areas.”
The announcement for the new services was made by Bus Éireann on Thursday, just three days before they commenced and Deputy Chambers said the lack of notice ‘speaks volumes about customer care in Bus Éireann’.
“Not only is it discommoding passengers, it’s giving very little notice about the changes,” she said.
Bus Éireann said the new service will provide connections to the wider public transport network available at hubs in both Swinford and Claremorris but Deputy Chambers dismissed this suggestion.
“While the company may claim the new 421 route is an ‘enhanced’ service, older people living in Kiltimagh and Swinford will beg to differ. I will be contacting Bus Éireann on behalf of residents in these towns and urging it to reconsider this nonsensical decision.”
Bus Éireann added that the new changes will provide a ‘boost in services’ to the existing routes along the Mayo-Galway corridor and the towns of towns of Westport, Castlebar, Cong, Headford and Ballinrobe will see major benefits.
For more information on the new Route 52 timetable visit www.expressway.ie or www.buseireann.ie for the other route timetables.