Locals in County Waterford could soon find themselves “stranded” after a bus company that serviced the area for decades said it has no choice but to shut down.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, Portlaw local Katherine Wall said the Suirway Bus was the only service available to the 2,000 people in the town.
“For a number of years now, we were all depending on that private-run bus service,” she said.
“There yesterday, they announced that they are going to be closing their bus service from the end of October.
“It’s the only bus service here and there are over 2,000 people in the village, so we’re devastated.
“My household alone has two people that regularly get the bus. One every single day to and from work. So, we don’t know what we’re going to do without the bus service here.”
Ms Wall said several towns in the area rely on private buses.
“As I said, we’re a village of around 2,000 people so I think we should have public transport,” she said.
“We have no public transport here and we’re not that far from a couple of other villages that also have private buses.
“They well deserve them, they’re little villages just like us out of the way and without the bus service, if you don’t have a car, you’re stranded basically.”
"Very sad day"
Also on the show, Suirway Bus Company owner Brian Lynch said the closure marks “a very sad day” for his family.
“The situation’s not good to be honest,” he said. “We’re a third-generation small family business.
“We have a dozen employees here. We were started in 1899 by my great uncle who had a horse and trap back in those days.
“We’ve been operating local bus services and giving what I would consider to be a really good service to local people for 123 years and recent events have not been helpful towards us, let’s just put it that way. It’s been a rough few years.”
He said the trouble started with the onset of the COVID restrictions and passenger numbers have not recovered since.
“We were in a Government assistance scheme for a period of time that did allow us to get back up and running but frankly, the scheme was limited and it didn’t really allow us to advance our business in any way,” he said.
“So, in real terms, we were going backwards over the last three years. That scheme ended earlier this year and the reality is our business is no longer viable.
“We have given advance notice, just in the last week, that we’re going to cease operations on October 31st this year. It is a very sad day for us.”
He said he has notified local TDs and councillors about the situation and said a public transport service must now be put in place to service the area.
“We’ll have to get a replacement service in place which frankly will have to be State supported because if we can’t run this service, I can assure you, no other private bus company will be able to do it,” he said.
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