A BUS route running from Clarecastle to Ennis could be worth €200,000 a year to an operator, it has been claimed as the pedal is being put back on efforts to initiate a service.
Councillor Johnny Flynn, at this week’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, urged that the Minister for Transport and the National Transport Agency support any licence application to initiate a trial bus route from Clarecastle through Ennis and on to the Gort Road Business Park.
According to Councillor Flynn, this could have the potential to become phase one of “an important transport option” for students, residents, visitors and workers in Ennis.
He outlined that a feasibility study had been carried out by Ennis Town Council into the possibility of running a service. “The work was done but the collapse of the economy put a stop to it,” he said.
According to the councillor, the proposed route has 1,300 students and 1,695 workers living and potentially travelling along it.
He estimates that if 10% of those people used the bus service, 240 workers paying €15 per week and 70 students paying €10 per week would result in a minimum turnover of €200,000 for a potential bus operator.
Director of services Ger Dollard outlined that the town council previously completed a comprehensive study designed to make the case for a bus route to Ennis.
That study had been circulated to local bus operators, with Mr Dollard recalling, “at the time there was no bite taken”.
He continued, “If the appetite is there, we would be happy to engage with bus operators”.
Councillor Paul Murphy voiced support for the idea, saying it would improve access for the people of Clarecastle. Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy described it as “positive”, saying it would strengthen connectivity and alleviate traffic congestion. Councillor Ann Norton also supported the plan, pointing out the lack of public transport in the town.
Mayor of Ennis Pat Daly stressed the importance of transport, particularly with Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann on the horizon, and he urged that park and ride be offered on all roads into Ennis as part of the Fleadh.
By Jessica Quinn