The government has unveiled details of a range of plans that will “transform” rural transport, connectivity and accessibility for more people and towns.
One such measure is Connecting Ireland, which, it says, will see a 25% increase in rural bus services.
Furthermore, it claims that it will ensure that 70% of people in rural Ireland will have access to a public transport system that provides at least three return trips to the closest larger town.
This means that 100 rural villages will, for the first time, benefit from “frequent and reliable” public transport.
At an event organised by the Department of Rural and Community Development, as part of the delivery of the Our Rural Future Rural Development Policy, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD welcomed a wide-ranging discussion on the future of public transport in Ireland at the first Rural Ideas Forum of 2022.
He highlighted the importance of community-led transport and the potential to expand the “already successful” Community Transport Scheme.
Minister Ryan also spoke about the new Pathfinder Projects that he has asked local authorities throughout the country to identify.
He told attendees that these are “innovative sustainable mobility” projects and initiatives which the government can deliver within the next two years.
He says they can make an immediate difference to how people move around our rural towns and townlands.
Minister Ryan said:
“My department’s Connecting Ireland Rural Mobility Plan, in tandem, with the Our Rural Future – Rural Development Policy, is strongly committed to improving public transport services in rural areas and to piloting new transport initiatives for people of all ages and abilities living there.”
“Our vision for rural Ireland is ambitious and one that is a key priority within the Programme for Government.”
“As people start to return to work, school or college after the summer holidays, we are seeing an increasing demand for public transport.”
“But, it is not enough that this demand is concentrated in our large towns and cities. We have to ensure that people in smaller towns or in townlands around those towns can also benefit from high-quality, frequent public transport.”
“That is the vision, and that is the aim. I am confident that we will, together, help reverse decades of neglect in this area and leave instead a legacy that will ensure that rural transport can continue to develop and expand.”
The webinar gave an insight into opportunities ahead and supports the “collective” goal of developing an “integrated, accessible, and sustainable” network of public transport offerings across Ireland, especially in rural areas.
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