New north Kilkenny bus service will include Urlingford

A new bus service between Portlaoise and Cashel will be extended to Urlingford, according to local TD Ann Phelan.

A new bus service between Portlaoise and Cashel will be extended to Urlingford, according to local TD Ann Phelan.

It follows cuts to Bus Eireann’s services in recent months, which left passengers stranded in Portlaoise and Urlingford, as well as Johnstown and Abbeyleix. But a local company, M&A coaches, have stepped up and have now been awarded the contract to run the service.

It is the second contracted route to be awarded to a private company, and will receive public subsidy to support what is seen as a socially-necessary service. Both Deputy Ann Phelan and local councillor Maurice Shortall have been working with the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport to secure an alternative service due to the withdrawal of Bus Eireann.

“I am delighted that local M&A Coaches of Ballyraggett, County Kilkenny have been awarded the contract and are commencing this new service today,” said Cllr Shortall.

The new service will provide three round trips on Mondays to Saturdays between Portlaoise and Cashel via Urlingford. Additional services will operate on Friday and Sunday evenings. The new service will be co-ordinated with Route 828 which operates between Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Durrow, and Johnstown, and now will be extended to Urlingford to link up with the new 828X.

““I am very pleased that the new service will be extended to Urlingford and Johnstown and will connect along the corridor with other services to both Dublin and Cork,” said Deputy Phelan.

“M&A Coaches have a very strong link with the local community and have a great reputation locally for service delivery. It is imperative that rural communities continue to have access to public transport facilities.”