Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bus Eireann

What have Bus Eireann against time. Of all the bus Eireann buses I have been on the clock is never set correctly. Also my local bus service is always dirty and rarely on time. People in power wonder why people don'’t use public transport well does kind of things are what turn people away from the bus service. The fact that a single costs more then half a return is also is a factor that turns people away. In Galway the service is not on a fixed schedule if you turn up to a bus stop with out a time table you will not know if a bus is going to be there in 5 minutes or over an hour. Also if you go to a bus stop to look at the time table, is there one? Rarely in my experiences is that the case anywhere in the country. Also in Limerick if you want to get a City Bus from the Train Station is the bus stop out side the train station?. No not even in one place but in many areas scattered around the city depending on the direction in which you are travelling. So if you are new to the city you have to find your way to William Street, O'’Connell Street, Henry Street or Arthur'’s Quay. Now if you are with heavy luggage you have 2 options 1.) Are you going to carry it all the way down there if you kind find you way (remember some tourists and migrants might not have enough English to ask for directions and there is no maps I'’ve ever seen telling you where to go if you don'’t know the way) 2.) Are you going to get a taxi. I guess number 2 unless you are canÂ’t afford it in which case welcome to Ireland of the unequal. The only solution I see is to privatise the bus service and perform a radical over haul of the company. The main argument against this is I presume that the local services would not be run. But if my local rural service is anything to go by then there is certainly a market for it even though the fares charged are extortionate and it is cheaper to make the trip in car in most cases. Why those that give any incentive to use public transport. Thus the people left on the bus are the poor, old and the young who can'’t afford a car. Yet again the poor take the hits in the Ireland of 2005 justifying IrelandÂ's position on the Human Poverty Index as the second worst in the 18 industrialized nations. Also what can they say about keeping unprofitable routes when the bus route from a medium size town like Thurles which has the population to support such a route as it serves as a commuter centre for Limerick consists of a change in Cahir and a 3:15 hour journey.(By car it takes just under an hour) Bus Eireann now has a virtual monopoly on most routes. It has the buses, the name and the advertising budget to out muscle competition. This leaves them open to offer what ever fair they wish. The benefits of privatising the routes can be seen on the Cork-Dublin and Belfast-Dublin route where the prices on the bus have dropped due to competition from aircoach . But competition has not fought on the Dublin-Limerick or Cork-Galway where prices are still high. Imagine what would happen if these companies and others could use the centrally based Bus Áras to park up in Dublin. We might get a decent bus network for all. But here is my tip to fight them. Next time you want to take a bus down the country. Visit the local third level collage'’s Student Union offices. They often have advertisements of private bus companies that run all over the country. It would probably be more convenient to take the car.(Don'’t start me on the trains) But take the bus the Green Party will by you a organic Soya burger as a thank you

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