E2 Ballinskelligs Area – Waterville (Saturday)
E3 Asdee Area & Ballylongford Area (Friday)
E5 Currow Area – Currow – Castleisland & Cordal Area – Cordal – Castleisland (Friday)
E6 Kerryhead – Ballyheigue (Friday)
E7 Bonane – Kenmare (Saturday)
Last year the National Transport Authority examined the potential to extend existing Local Link bus services to provide additional services in the evenings. The initiative was focused on addressing social isolation and unmet transport needs in rural areas during evening/night-time hours.
In Kerry, services were designed to operate either Friday or Saturday nights that would address rural isolation and would operate Door to Door with seats being pre booked. The cost for services are €5 return and the Free Travel Pass is accepted.
In welcoming the extension, Carmel Walsh, Manager Local Link Kerry outlined that “Local Link Kerry reported the usage on the new services to the NTA and it was agreed to extend the above 5 services to see where they can go in another three months.”
“Public uptake on some of the services has been slow, but they are building. I would like to say that it was fantastic, but that is not actually the case on all services and in fact we have not extended 1 Service that we established. But to put that in context we are not culturally set up to use public transport in rural areas. If you live in Dublin using buses is a way of life, so when something changes it has an immediate impact. For something like this in rural Ireland it takes time for people to adjust, trust and change their ways of doing things,” Carmel Walsh, Local Link Kerry
“Six months was never going to be time enough to make people aware of all of the services. We have promoted them, but it is still about getting the word out. Local Link Kerry would encourage locals to use the services to ensure they get extended and in fact mainstreamed,” added Carmel Walsh.
In announcing the extension of Services, Department of Transport Minister Shane Ross announced that “tackling rural isolation and providing the means for people to meet, socialise and attend events is extremely important. I would encourage people to use their Local Links as much as possible so we can continue to provide, and hopefully increase, this very useful service.”
In its initial review the NTA found that the majority of the services are performing well, particularly as it took time for some of these new services to be developed. Also, it was felt that a six month pilot was a relatively short period within which to gauge passenger usage and trends.
The NTA will conduct a further review of the services in March 2019 after which a decision will be taken regarding future funding for these services.
Full Timetable – www.locallinkkerry.ie/evening-time-bus-services/ and Local Link Kerry can be contacted on 066 7147002.