It’s something that was seen as a common sense solution to the grinding isolation and loneliness of rural Ireland since drinking and driving fell foul of the law and out of fashion.
Now a pilot scheme involving an evening / night-time bus service aimed specifically at rural areas will go a long way towards relieving that pressure.
In this area, Castleisland, Currow and Cordal are to be linked in the new night-time, rural transport pilot scheme being introduced by Minister Shane Ross with help from Minister Brendan Griffin and Kildare south TD, Martin Heydon.
Kerry TD and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, has helped secure the introduction of eight new evening and night-time transport services on a trial basis in rural parts of Kerry.
Tackling Rural Isolation
Minister Griffin said that the evening and night-time services could play and important role in tackling rural isolation and that eight out of 50 of the nationwide trials will be conducted in rural Kerry.
The services will operate in the following areas: Castleisland-Currow-Cordal; Asdee and Ballylongford; Castlegregory-Cloghane; Listowel and the surrounding areas; Kennare-Bonane; Kerryhead-Ballyheigue; Glencar Area and Waterville-Ballinskelligs.
Six Month Trial
Following engagements last year between Minister Griffin and Minister for Transport, Shane Ross with Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon, Minister Ross tasked the NTA to examine how to extend existing Local Link services under the Rural Transport Programme.
A funding call for applications subsequently went out to all 17 Local Link offices to deliver a range of trial evening and night time services.
The NTA received 50 proposals from 12 of the Local Link Offices. Having appraised the applications received, the NTA has now approved funding for all 50 new services on a six month trial basis.
Local Link Proactive
Announcing the new pilot programme, Minister Ross specifically thanked Deputy Heydon and Minister Griffin for their help and input to the development of the new services.
He also acknowledged the work that the NTA and the Local Link Offices have put into the initiative.
Minister Griffin commended Kerry Local Link for their proactive approach to the opportunity presented by the new pilot scheme and thanked them for their continued excellent work in supporting the residents of rural communities with vital transport links.
June to December
The NTA plans to have all 50 services operational by end June 2018, running until December 2018 on a trial basis.
The results of the trial will be assessed and the continuation of these services will be considered in the light of those results and the availability of funding in 2019. The total cost of funding these services for the six month period in 2018 is €450,000.
For more about Local Link Kerry simply click on the link here: http://www.locallinkkerry.ie
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