Bus Éireann services connecting East Meath towns to Dublin are still facing major disruptions causing headaches for commuters in the area.
Bus routes 103, 111 and 109, which cater to those in Ratoath, Athboy, Dunshaughlin and Navan, are scheduled to run every twenty minutes. However, this hasn’t been the case for almost a month now with Bus Éireann blaming high absenteeism rates among drivers for the problem. Unions representing drivers have said however, that there simply aren’t enough drivers to cover the routes.
Locals, who use this service to get to work, school and college have been inconvenienced on several occasions due to buses not arriving on time or, in some cases, not arriving at all. Some bus schedules were also cancelled abruptly for an indefinite period of time.
This issue was raised in the Dáil on the 4th October by Thomas Byrne TD. Speaking on the issue, Byrne said: “Perhaps we need to ask Dublin Bus to do some of the routes particularly close to Dublin because there are huge difficulties at the moment. People are being left stranded, particularly students who cannot use the private bus services at certain times of the day.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar responded saying “as it is an industrial relations matter, it is a matter between the unions and the company”.
Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty TD met with CEO of Bus Éireann, Ray Hernan, in late September to also address the matters at hand.
“We discussed the decline in service that many bus users in Meath have been experiencing. I will be in regular contact with Ray about this,” said Doherty.
Doherty also posted on her Facebook page asking bus users to report late or no show buses in the comment section, to which she has received an overwhelming response with 200 complaints since the 29th September.
A community meeting, organised by local Peace Commissioner Andrew Ralph, will take place in Ratoath on 12th October at 8pm, in hopes to gather a detailed record of all passenger problems to present to the National Transport Authority (NTA).
By Megan Walsh