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Newcastle West bus service launches


A new urban bus service has been launched in Newcastle West this week. The service, which is operated by Arra Bus, will conect the town centre with outlying areas and the new multinational shopping pazas and will operate an hourly service

A feature of the service is its disability access and the acceptance of free travel passes. The general fare is a fixed €l, and this money will subsidise free traveL The setting up of the service was facilitated by Chris Long of Newcastle West-based Rural Bus, which provides cheap bus services from rural areas across County Limerick and north Cork to towns and shopping centres.

Market research for the Newcastle West service was undertaken by Teresa Murphy of Rural Bus, with additional research by the Chamber's founding president, Pat McLoughlin.

Already Limerick  County Council have agreed to support the new service by providing dedicated bus stops, with timetable boards, if the initial two-month trial period proves successfuL "We feel sure that it will be successful," said Chamber president John Hunt at this Monday's launch.

"Pat McLoughlin has canvassed the business people and they are willing to support it, perhaps by giving bus vouchers to those who purchase a certain value of goods, or by subscribing towards any shortfall," he said.

Mr Long said that he perceived the need for an urban service for the town, now had a population in excess of 7,000 and which measured three miles from Churchtown in the north to its southern outskirts.

But the Rural Bus scheme would not covet such a service, and Chamber stepped in as managers.
Mr McLoughlin said that their research showed a need for more than just ease of shopping. The cemeteries, at ,Churchtown, are too far for many people, especially the elderly, to walk to, and many would avail of the service in the knowledge that a bus would be at the gate to take them home after an hour.

Schoolchildren who live too close to town to use school transport would also avail of the new service, he said.

Mr Hunt pointed to the benefits respecting traffic. The service, he said, would appreciably reduce traffic congestion and parking problems in the town centre.

At present one bus caters for the service, but Mr McLoughlin envisages a second vehicle being provided at busy times if the initial twomonth period proves its worth.

The timetable, said Mr Long, "is not set in stone" and will be fine-tuned in the light of experience to suit the greatest number of people.


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