West Donegal bus operators voice gritting concerns

Services disrupted - claim

By Eamonn McFadden

Reporter:

By Eamonn McFadden

Email:

eamonn.mcfadden@donegaldemocrat.com

Bus

This aerial image shows the number of vehicles unable to pass the roadway in Ranafast. Picture courtesy of Súil Ard

Two major west Donegal bus operators are calling for Donegal County Council to include the route from their businesses on to the local road gritting programme after black ice severely disrupted their services this week.

Brian O’Domhnaill of Bus Feda and neighbouring bus and taxi operator, John O’Donnell, say they were both left severely compromised earlier this week when the roadway they use from their bus yards to the main road was left impassable.

Bus Feda operates one of the main intercounty bus services in the west of Ireland, while John O’Donnell’s operates services for local schools, daycare centres, additional needs students and dialysis patients.

John says they urgently need to meet with council officials to resolve the problem as it affects many services the two operators run.

He said the impact has a serious “ripple   effect” and the matter can be resolved with the inclusion of the 1.6km of roadway on the gritting programme.

“The council do not seem to understand what is happening. I have to move up to 150 or 200 people each morning and have runs such as the dialysis to do every day of the week regardless of the weather. There is something wrong with the system,” he stated.

He added that alternative arrangements such as leaving the busses along the roadway at other locations is not permissible for insurance purposes.

Brian O’Domhnaill says he is also calling for the road to be included as the situation that arose this week was “absolutely ridiculous”.

“Until now we have managed to stumble out, or be an hour late but we were just caught unaware and it left us completely paralysed. What we want is, not just for Feda or John or the people of Ranafast, it is for the people across the country that rely on our services and depend on our coaches,” he stated.

The Council state they  have “no spare capacity at present” within the existing gritting resources to add the Rannafast section onto the priority gritting programmeandt  are  currently considering options “but expect that additional resources will be needed for this”.