Bus Éireann unveils new €50m fleet

Disabled passengers will still have to give 24 hours notice, but all buses in the fleet will now be wheelchair accessible

Bus Éireann has launched a new €50m fleet of 116 new vehicles.

Coming in four models, including 82-seater and 78-seater double-deck buses, the buses feature extra legroom, plug sockets, free WiFi, lower emissions and are all wheelchair accessible.

However, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe says disabled commuters will still have to give 24 hours' notice.

Earlier this week, campaigners called on politicians to make accessibilty an election issue - along with other problems faced by those with disabilities. Minister Donohoe says the first step is that they all take wheelchairs:

Some of the new buses will soon enter service in Cork, Limerick and Galway while others recently went into operation on commuter services in the Great Dublin Area.

37.8 million passenger trips were made with Bus Éireann last year - up 700,000 on 2014. Bus Éireann Chief Executive Martin Nolan says the figures are promising: 

"Our 2015 passenger figures augur well for renewed economic growth in the regions, which like Dublin, must be supported with a public transport infrastructure which is modern and best in class.

"There is a return to congestion and with growing demand for our services in regional cities - further priority measures for public transport remain a key aim for 2016."

Funding for the investment was provided by the Department of Transport via the National Transport Authority.