KILKENNY City is not big enough for three tourist trains according to local Councillors and Deputy John McGuinness. The unique Kilkenny City Tours, which offers tourists a trip around the city in a black n’amber train, has recently been marked by a second operator providing the same service. And a third operator is soon on the way, provoking local politicians to step in.
The tour departs from outside Kilkenny Castle where a parking/loading bay has been provided. Flocks of tourists have been availing of the service which has received rave reviews on Trip Advisor.
Operated by local man Ivan Sheridan who spent considerable time researching and developing the business, Kilkenny City Tours has turned out to be a real treat for tourists and has the potential to be a thriving business.
Within months of the arrival of the black n’amber train, the business was marked by a second operator who now departs from the same location and offers an identical service, albeit without the Kilkenny colours. This has created a huge strain on the original operator who feels there is not enough business for more than one train and business is about to get tougher as a third operator is about to set up shop.
Three local Councillors Andrew McGuinness, Joe Reidy and Joe Malone and Deputy John McGuinness are calling on Kilkenny Borough Council to regulate the routes the trains use and restrict the usage to one train.
“There are a number of issues surrounding this. Firstly, there is not enough business to sustain three operators and it is inevitable that one or two of these businesses will close down.
“It’s a great service for tourists and it would be a shame to lose it. There is also a traffic issue. With three trains operating the same route every day we can expect plenty of traffic jams,” said Cllr Andrew McGuinness.
“We can’t have a system where there is an uncontrollable amount of tourist trains going up and down the streets. The infrastructure simply is not there to facilitate so many operators. The solution here is to regulate the routes before this gets out of hand,” said Cllr Joe Reidy.
“The original operator Ivan Sheridan has researched this business with a fine comb and, supported by the County Enterprise Board, Ivan has worked with the local authorities to ensure that the service he is providing to tourists is of a high standard and compliments everything else on offer in the city,” Cllr McGuinness said.
“We now need to ensure that this service is protected and the concept is not tarnished by an influx of operators looking to cash in on the idea,” he stressed.