There has been good news for the north of the county this week, with confirmation that replacement bus services in the area will be retained for another seven weeks at least.
Bus Éireann has confirmed that it will continue to operate the daily service it has been providing between Johnstown, Durrow and Abbeyleix and Portlaoise until the end of September 2012. The service was originally due to run just up until last Saturday, August 11.
The decision by Bus Éireann in June to withdraw its Cork-Dublin service to Johnstown in Kilkenny, and Abbeyleix and Cullahill in Laois had been condemned by the local community, who said that the cuts would leave them isolated and without a public transport service. A temporary service was implemented, while officials and the National Transport Authority examined potential long-term solutions for public transport provision in the area.
Deputy Ann Phelan and Cllr Maurice Shortall have been among those making representations to preserve the service, which they say is vital for rural commuters assessing services including employment.
“We have been informed by CEO Martin Nolan that Bus Éireann is to continue to operate the daily service it is providing until the end of September,” said Cllr Shorthall.
The temporary commercial shuttle service will continue to operate six times a day, Monday to Sunday, in each direction until the end of September 2012.
It operates from Johnstown to Portlaoise via Durrow and Abbeyleix at 08.40, 10.40, 12.40, 14.40, 16.25 and 18.40, and from Portlaoise to Johnstown via Abbeyleix and Durrow at 9.20, 11.20, 13.20, 15.20, 17.20 and 19.20.
Customers from these areas can use the shuttle service to connect with a range of Bus Éireann services in Portlaoise such as Route X8 Cork–Dublin-Dublin Airport, and Route 12 Limerick-Dublin-Dublin Airport.
“This is good news for North Kilkenny,” said local county councillor Mary Hilda Cavanagh.
“There has been a replacement service operating for the past six weeks. This means will be a continued bus service to the area, and Bus Eireann has indicated it is prepared to give the licensing to a private authority.”