National Transport Authority launches second PSO route operated by private sector company
The National Transport Authority is pleased to announce the launch of a new bus service between Portlaoise and Cashel. The development has been welcomed by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Commuter Transport Alan Kelly.
Minister Varadkar noted that this was the second occasion where the Authority had stepped in to provide users with a continuous service on the corridor, following Bus Éireann’s withdrawal from Portlaoise and Urlingford.
Minister Varadkar said: “I welcome this new service which marks an important step in the development of Ireland’s bus market. The Portlaoise to Cashel service will be operated by M&A Coaches the second contracted route to be awarded to a private company, and which will receive public subsidy to support a socially necessary services.”
Minister of State for Commuter Transport Alan Kelly welcomed the award of the new contract and said it will be of major benefit to local people: “This will connect people along that corridor with other services to both Cork and Dublin. Furthermore it provides people with access to and from hospital in Portlaoise. The NTA has to find innovative ways to replace lost commercial services. The previous services between Portlaoise and Cashel were provided on a commercial basis. These have been replaced by a local bus provider with a strong reputation for service delivery.”
Gerry Murphy, CEO of the National Transport Authority said: “This new service is being introduced following a decision by Bus Éireann to withdraw their contracted commercial services from Portlaoise and Urlingford. We identified that it was essential for these communities to continue to have public transport services available and are very pleased that M&A Coaches of Ballyraggett, County Kilkenny are commencing this new service today.”
The new service (Route 828X) is being provided under a Public Transport Services Contract with the Authority following a tender competition.
This contract marks the second competitively tendered contract that has been awarded by the Authority since its establishment on 1 December 2009. The operator will receive a public subsidy to support the socially necessary services.
The new service will provide three round trips on Mondays to Saturdays between Portlaoise and Cashel via Urlingford. Additional services will operate on Friday and Sunday evenings. The new service will be co-ordinated with Route 828 which operates between Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Durrow, and Johnstown and now will be extended to Urlingford to link up with the new 828X. Route 828 is also subsidised by the Authority and is operated by M&A Coaches under contract with the Authority.
Onward public transport connections are available in Portlaoise towards Newbridge, Naas, Dublin Airport and Dublin City. Connections are also available at Cashel with Bus Éireann Route X8 for journeys towards, Cahir, Mitchelstown, Fermoy and Cork City.
Full details of the new service can be seen at www.transportforireland.ie
and from M&A Coaches on 056 883 3454 or at www.mandacoaches.com