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Call for 20 double deckers to tackle Bus Eireann problems in Donegal

A Donegal County Councillor has called for 20 extra buses to be allocated to Bus Eireann’s fleet in Donegal to avoid incidents of passengers being left behind.

Cllr Patrick McGowan told the council yesterday that Bus Eireann is stretched beyond capacity and leaving passengers, many elderly, behind at bus stops.

Cllr McGowan says the county’s services need an additional 10 buses for Letterkenny and 10 for Donegal Town.

“We also need more drivers and more drivers in reserve, we have none and that’s why when a bus breaks down anywhere, it’s tough luck and you have to wait for the next scheduled bus, rather than,” Cllr McGowan said.

“Stranorlar is very well based in the county, it wouldn’t be hard to get a driver and a bus back out the road again. But in this case, it doesn’t happen.”

Cllr McGowan said that a specific charter service for Donegal passengers should be provided for those attending hospital appointments in Dublin and Galway.

“It’s bad enough that we have to go to Galway or Dublin to get certain medical things done and to think that we don’t have a first-class public service, it’s not about trains in the future, we can’t even organise buses with the express service in Letterkenny today.

“I know bus drivers are embarrassed and annoyed to have to leave elderly people standing at bus stops in Donegal Town and Letterkenny.”

Cllr McGowan has called on the council to meet with public transport providers in Donegal and invite Bus Eireann, the Rural Transport Local Link Service etc. to discuss, plan and then lobby the Government for a proper integrated public transport service. The motion was adopted at Monday’s meeting of Donegal County Council and the matter will be raised through the Local Community Development Committee.

Cllr McGowan added: “Everybody knows that the buses are too small, we need double deckers, we need a reserved list of drivers and we most importantly need a door-to-door service for the elderly and other people of this county. If we have to leave Falcarragh, Gweedore, Inishowen and Malin Head, or anywhere else and we have to attend a service that is not provided in this region, then we should be bloody well left at the door of Galway University Hospital or at a Dublin Hospital. At the door not thrown at Busaras. It’s no palace to be left in, it’s like a shed. It’s a terrible service and this is where all the tourists in this country come into?”