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-   -   Discontinuation of Longford rail station-Drumlish-Arva-Cavan bus: (http://www.railusers.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=15127)

Traincustomer 08-03-2014 23:51

Discontinuation of Longford rail station-Drumlish-Arva-Cavan bus:
 
The longstanding bus service linking Longford rail station & town to Cavan Town via Drumlish, Arva, Crossdoney and smaller places along the way is destined to cease operation after the operation of the 18.00hrs Longford Rail Stn to Cavan Bus Station journey next Saturday, 15th March, 2014.

Operated by Wharton's Travel of Crossdoney since the 1970s, the route dates back to the earliest days of bus operation.

According to local media reports the service has been operating at a loss for some time. It receives a sum for the carriage of free travel pass holders but, appreciably, as a commercial service receives no subsidy. The operator is conscious of the importance of the route and has tried to keep it running but apparently can no longer sustain it.

Extensive efforts are underway in the areas concerned to retain a service of some description including an extremely well attended public meeting in Moyne last week and a petition.

Inniskeen 09-03-2014 07:53

I must admit I was wasn't even aware of the existence of this service despite being a reasonably frequent user of Longford station over the years. Says a lot for the dis-integrated nature of public transport in Ireland that a service of this nature has so little visibility.

Traincustomer 09-03-2014 18:05

There is certainly significant potential to improve rail to bus links in many locations across the country but there seems to be very little interest in doing so.

In very recent years the bus timetable for the route to Cavan has been displayed on a noticeboard in the waiting room at Longford station - I think it's still there. But what's really needed is a higher profile display i.e. a dedicated display board "Bus links from this station" with a schematic map and timetable.

While dedicated feeder buses would need to be carefully planned and structured and could not be sustained in all locations (or only on a limited peak-time basis) there are numerous opportunities for existing scheduled routes to integrate with rail. As I see it it's a "win win" for IÉ and the bus operator/s concerned.

Subsidised rural community buses should also be serving rail stations when they coincide with a train time and not just feeding into commercial bus services.

There is a severe paucity of bus-rail integration improvements. Cork (Kent) springs to mind as a significant improvement in recent years and it's good that the subsidised M & A Coaches routes 828 & 828X serve Portlaoise station.

A plan for a feeder bus in Co. Cork from Mitchelstown and Fermoy to Mallow appears abandoned - presumably due to the motorway. Significant improvements in the Drogheda area bus routes were introduced last November but none serve the rail station.

Traincustomer 17-03-2014 15:55

Update
 
The National Transport Authority (NTA) have examined the matter and have determined that a public service obligation (PSO) exists.

Accordingly there will be a competitive tender process to put in place a replacement service.

It's unclear how long of a break in service there will be; I'd be inclined to think a few weeks at minimum.

Traincustomer 27-04-2014 15:57

Update
 
The tender notice is currently on the ireland-tenders.eu website with a closing date of 28th May so the route should be back on the road by the end of June.

Mark Gleeson 27-04-2014 17:48

I would be very careful making such statements

If no one bids, or no bid's meet NTA requirements there won't be a service.

NTA hasn't exactly been successful with bus routes.

Traincustomer 27-04-2014 20:25

Hadn't really thought of that angle. When I said "should be back on the road by the end of June" that was an estimated expectation.

Traincustomer 06-08-2014 17:02

Service recommences
 
The service recommenced today, 6th August 2014. It is being operated by Whartons Travel on behalf of the NTA.

Timetable the same as before i.e.

08.00 Cavan Bus Station - Longford Rly Stn (arr 09.15)
10.20 Longford Rly Stn - Cavan (arr 11.35)
13.00 Cavan Bus Station - Longford Rly Stn (arr 14.15)
15.20 Longford Rly Stn - Arva (arr 16.05)
16.10 Arva - Longford Rly Stn (arr 16.55)
18.00 Longford Rly Stn - Cavan (arr 19.15)

All Mondays to Saturdays inclusive. Numbered as route 975.

Free travel pass holders now pay 50% of the relevant adult fare. The highest adult single fare is Longford to Cavan at €10 so a pass holder would pay a fiver.

James Howard 07-08-2014 06:33

This is very clever - establishing the principle of charging discounted fares to Free Travel Pass holders to gauge the amount of resistance. I'm not saying that it is wrong but it does seem a bit high to be hitting pensioners for 50% of the fare especially when there is no alternative available. Still some service is better than no service I suppose.

ACustomer 07-08-2014 13:03

There could be an explanation for this in that when the recession hit a few years ago, a Dept of Transport decision was made that no new routes would benefit from the free travel scheme.

One consequence was that a new Aircoach route from Ballinteer to Dublin Airport gave no discount to travelpass holders whereas other established routes from Greystones, Stillorgan etc still had free travel facilities. Apart from the fact that extension of free travel to what is a premium service was probably a bit of Celtic Tiger madness, the unequal treatment of the different routes was crazy. A uniform 50% discount for all Aircoach routes would have been better in my opinion.

Back to Longford-Cavan: are the new operators giving a 50% discount without any State subsidy? It just might make commercial sense in marginal cost terms depending on how pensioners respond to the offer. If they are getting a subsidy in respect of offering the discount, this is a radical new departure from the free travel scheme.

As usual in Ireland, there is no explanation, no rationale, no transparency, just make it up as you go along.

berneyarms 07-08-2014 14:50

It was a DSP decision, not a DoT decision to not allow new routes to join the scheme.

I'd imagine that the contract is identical to that with M & A Coaches for their services between Portlaoise and Fermoy which is on the NTA website.
http://www.nationaltransport.ie/publ...hes/contracts/

I would expect the Whartons contract to be uploaded there as well in due course.

To be fair to the NTA, if there is one thing that they have introduced it is some transparency in all of their decision making.

ACustomer 07-08-2014 15:47

Thanks, berneyarms, for the clarification.

I transfer the booby prize to the DSP. Maybe the NTA has introduced greater transparency, but behind them the same old tired civil servants are pulling the strings.

James Howard 07-08-2014 15:59

Rules are rules but it seems hardly fair that people in rural areas with no other way of accessing FTP services than taking an extremely infrequent basic service have to pay while the elderly residents of Foxrock can benefit from a luxury airport transfer free of charge.

Whatever about the history of things, it is now five years later and we can hardly expect the status quo to hold forever. Should there be a Mullingar to Cavan service via the Float and Ballywillan because there was a train line there 50 years ago?

Colm Moore 07-08-2014 17:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by ACustomer (Post 74752)
Maybe the NTA has introduced greater transparency, but behind them the same old tired civil servants are pulling the strings.

I'm not sure if you are being metaphorical, but as I understand it, only 'new' personnel are dealing with bus licensing and the previous staff transferred back to the Department of Transport.

berneyarms 07-08-2014 19:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by ACustomer (Post 74752)
Thanks, berneyarms, for the clarification.

I transfer the booby prize to the DSP. Maybe the NTA has introduced greater transparency, but behind them the same old tired civil servants are pulling the strings.

I don't think you could possibly compare the bus licensing regime under the DoT with that under the NTA.

We've gone from total lethargy and inability to make decisions to a process that is clear, transparent and relatively fast. The people making the decisions are not the former civil servants.

There are full procedures for setting up new PSO services, and for issuing commercial licences, so I fail to see how you can think that it is "making it up as we go along".

I think as James Howard observes, there is a need to review what services the Free Travel Scheme covers - personally I believe it should cover:

* City and Suburban bus services (off-peak only)
* Rural PSO bus services
* 50% on all commercial bus/coach services
* DART and suburban rail services (off-peak only)
* Intercity rail services

I differentiate between Intercity rail and commercial bus services as the former are subject to a full PSO subsidy.

Mark Gleeson 08-08-2014 10:03

The free pass and PSO have nothing to do with each other

There are numerous non PSO services where DSP pass is accepted.

There are also now services under PSO funding where DSP passes are no longer accepted for free travel

berneyarms 08-08-2014 22:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson (Post 74756)
The free pass and PSO have nothing to do with each other

There are numerous non PSO services where DSP pass is accepted.

There are also now services under PSO funding where DSP passes are no longer accepted for free travel

Mark - I was saying what I thought it should be going forward.

It is a complete mish-mash right now and I was intimating that it needs a comprehensive overhaul.

My own view is that PSO services should have priority over commercial ones.


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