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Council land may be used as lay bys for rural bus stops

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Council owned land is potentially going to be used as an additional lay bys to ease the access to public transport for rural dwellers.

Engagements between Clare County Council, Bus Éireann, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority are to take place. Such a move has arisen following a motion by Cllr Roisin Garvey to the local authority.

She requested that a pilot project be instigated by the Council to create lay bys on their land near secondary roads that join primary bus routes. “This would enable rural dwellers to access the limited rural transport options they have more easily without needing to first get a lift to their closest town or village which can be anything up to 12km away. Clare would lead the way in improving rural transport options for rural dwellers”.

Senior engineer, John Leahy outlined that engagement would commence between the various bodies but highlighted that stop locations are made by bus companies to the NTA. Consideration during assessment would focus on pedestrian safety, driver safety, public lighting, adequate forward visibility, cost, accessibility and footpath connections.

“Works on a national secondary road would require a road safety audit at the locations proposed. Planning may also be a consideration depending on the extent of work at the particular locations,” Leahy flagged.

Garvey outlined, “Due to the higher quantities of cars on road and speed, the option isn’t there for people to signal for a bus to collect them on the side of a road”. The Inagh native added, “In lots of rural areas in EU countries, they have bus stops in the middle of nowhere. Lights and car parking is not necessary, if they can do it in France, Germany and Spain, we can do it here. Clare could lead the way on this, we won’t all be switching to electric cars but we will be moving to public transport,” she said in reference to an earlier discussed motion.

Bus drivers within the county were praised as “super” by Cllr Ian Lynch (IND), “they are currently stopping at the side of a ditch, we just want a paved area to make it easier for them to pull in”. In seconding the motion, he recalled he submitted a similar motion to the West Clare MD last year. “The reality around this is what Cllr Garvey is very practical, common sense not so practical around it”.

“We just need to support the pilot project and face the difficulties as they arise. There is a huge move towards rural transport, less use of individual cars and a green agenda, now is the time to put it forward,” Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) commented.

Clare could be the county to lead on this, Garvey repeated. “Now is the time for action. There is a climate emergency, everything has changed so now is the time. Let’s be the first county to move on this”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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