ENNIS bus and rail station is being “run into the ground” a county councillor believes.
Councillor Mary Howard has criticised both Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann accusing them of neglecting the station and leaving it to become a “sad and lonely place”.
Her comments came in the wake of images circulating on social media showing bus times at the station written in marker which was heavily criticised online.
When contacted about the timetables, Bus Éireann said that it worked to ensure the timetables were replaced as soon as possible, and confirmed there are no plans to introduce a supervisor to the station.
While Iarnród Éireann has insisted that it is “committed to providing a quality service to our customers at Ennis”.
Councillor Howard has called for a permanent bus inspector and station master to be installed in Ennis, fearing that there is a risk of future anti-social behaviour at the station.
“If you go to any country in the world, these stations are a hive of anti-social behaviour, and it’s only a matter of time before this starts happening in Ennis,” she said.
“Getting off a bus or a train in the dark and there is nobody at the station to give you advice, it can be a very scary place.
“We have time now to get our house in order, we are looking at ways to cope and live with Covid, and we need to plan for the future as we look towards getting back to having Ennis as a tourist destination. Having this station as people’s first introduction to Ennis is not very nice.”
She continued, “This degradation needs to stop. We need permanent personnel, an inspector and station master on the ground at the station from the first bus and train service to the last bus and train service each day at the very least.
“Passengers need to feel safe and know that someone is there to assist them, whether it is for information, issuing of tickets or connections advice.”
She added that Ennis Tidy Towns volunteers regularly have to pick up litter at the station every week.
“Bus Éireann and Irish Rail need to take pride in the station. It is time that they stepped up to the plate and invested in this very profitable station with not just money but with people too.”
A spokesperson for Bus Éireann told The Clare Champion, “Regrettably, some of our timetables in Ennis station were recently damaged and the Bus Éireann operations team ensured they were replaced as soon as possible.
“Bus Éireann is also working on a nationwide upgrade to all of our in-station information displays.
“Customers in Ennis can purchase tickets from the automatic ticket machines situated in the bus station, from the driver on board the bus and are also available to purchase online.
“Bus Éireann encourages customers to use Leap Cards, automatic ticket machines and online ticket purchase to minimise the use of cash. Tickets can be purchased at www.buseireann.ie
“There hasn’t been any change to the ticketing situation in Ennis for almost 10 years and there are no current plans to reintroduce a supervisor in the station.”
While Iarnród Éireann’s spokesperson told the Champion, “Iarnród Éireann is committed to providing a quality service to our customers at Ennis. We have recently opened a new fully accessible lift and footbridge at the station and resurfacing of the platforms is due to commence in the coming months.
“We have an excellent working relationship with Ennis Tidy Towns. There is a staff presence at this location and our Station Manager for the area regularly visits the station to ensure that high standards are being maintained.
“We welcome all feedback from our customers and work continuously to improve our stations and our services.”
By Jessica Quinn