The National Transport Authority has today announced that a new Public Service Obligation route will operate from Sunday, September 5th in place of the existing X8 Expressway route.
The news comes following the planned cessation of the X8 route which was strongly objected to by local communities benefiting from the service. The X245 will maintain the existing reduced timetable, with the same stops as the previous commercial route, and will offer four services a day in both directions, having been revised in January.
Commenting on the announcement, Cllr Mairin McGrath said that the news is to be cautiously welcomed, the Public Service Obligation will guarantee the continuation of a public transport bus service in Cahir that was intended to be axed however, it ultimately is a reduced service compared to what was being offered prior to the Covid-19 Outbreak which is disappointing.
“The current X8 route is not only providing inter-city connectivity but also serves as a life-line to those using it to travel to work in local towns between Fermoy, Mitchelstown, Cahir and Cashel”
The preservation of the route will come as a relief to many third level students travelling from South Tipperary Communities to college in Cork or Dublin who depend on Public Transport, ahead of the planned return of On-Campus education this Autumn.
‘While in college in Dublin myself, I used the X8 route from Cahir on a number of occasions. However, at that stage, the route timetable was far more flexible and accommodating for those who were commuting for work or early-morning appointments.’
In January 2021, Bus Eireann announced a revised and reduced Timetable, including cutting Dublin Airport as the final stop, citing the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic and reduced fare revenue as the main reasons. As restrictions ease and with people returning to the office and college campuses, Bus Eireann and the NTA need to revise the reduced timetable and add an earlier service, including extending on to Dublin Airport rather than a City-Centre stop.
“At present, the earliest bus departing from Cahir to Dublin is 09:20 and to Cork is 10:25. These just aren’t practical in many instances and will result in people continuing to use Private Cars even if Public Transport is their preference.” Said Cllr McGrath
A positive addition to the proposed route however is the ability to use a LEAP card for the first time on these types of routes, offering a fare discount of 30% concluded the Rural Based Councillor.