Inexplicable and unacceptable: More delays to Kilkenny's new bus service

NTA has yet to provide updated routes and fare information

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

John Street in Kilkenny City.

John Street in Kilkenny City.

Another month, another delay to Kilkenny's long-awaited city bus service, which was initially to have been up and running more than two years ago.

First it was to be in place by September of 2017. After endless delays, the service was to be in place for people to do their Christmas shopping this year. It's now clear this will not happen.

In the past fortnight, the Kilkenny People has repeatedly sought up-to-date maps from the National Transport Authority (NTA) showing the exact routes and the cost of fare for each. The NTA has yet to provide any of this information. It's understood that at least one of the bus stops - at Purcellsinch - will move location on weekends. 

It has emerged this week delivery of the fleet of five buses to commence the rollout of the city bus service has been delayed yet again. Local councillor Malcolm Noonan has criticised the delays, saying the service was already delayed by two years and shows a complete disinterest by the National Transport Authority (NTA) for public transport outside the greater Dublin area.

"This is not the purchasing of a fleet of a hundred buses for Dublin Bus - it's five buses and now we are faced with a further undefined delay," said the Green Party councillor.

"When I proposed the purchase of electric or biogas buses almost two years ago, I was informed by the NTA that the tender had gone out. So what is the problem here?"

Cllr Noonan said that the delay in the roll out of the service has been poorly communicated, with no publicity campaign, unacceptable delays and that such a haphazard approach would not bode well for the uptake of the service.

"We the elected members of Kilkenny County Council learned of the delay via a very short press statement, with no reason given as to why the delivery of the bus service was delayed," he said.

"What the people of Kilkenny need now is certainty as to the actual start date of the service and a proper communication strategy regarding routes and times. I also think that the service should be offered for free for a month to allow passenger numbers to build up and to get people used to taking the new bus service."

"Public transport, cycling and walking can significantly and positively impact on traffic congestion, reduced emissions and improved air quality in the city but we're not seeing the sense of urgency in the rollout of the Kilkenny service and that must change."