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Whartons bus service: the final journey

Driver Tommy McKiernan with Gabrielle Cawley and Romie Wallace on the last Whartons bus service from Longford to Cavan.  Photo: Shelley Corcoran

Driver Tommy McKiernan with Gabrielle Cawley and Romie Wallace on the last Whartons bus service from Longford to Cavan. Photo: Shelley Corcoran

It emerged last week that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is to examine the Whartons Cavan to Longford bus service which ceased operations last Saturday.

The Leader has learned that the authority will step in, in an effort to save the service which has been running through north Longford for the last 60 years. The route will be put out to tender over the next few weeks. However service users will be without a service in the interm.

Representatives of Whartons had met with the Department of Social Protection last Monday week in a last ditch attempt to save the bus service, but after failing to reach any agreement, the bus company announced that it was ceasing the run on Saturday, March 15. Since the initial announcement just over four weeks ago, 700 people have signed a petition in north Longford to keep the bus on the road and numerous public meetings have been held in an effort to resolve the matter.

Speaking to the Leader last Friday, Cllr Luie McEntire (FF) while cautiously welcoming the move, said the people of north Longford “will not let the service go”.

“The NTA will put the service out to tender and while Whartons will cease operations on Saturday, March 15, we would expect a new bus company in place within six to eight weeks,” he added.

“The 700 signatures and a large number of letters written by the users of the service were sent to the NTA by us; they got back to us and told us that it was the social benefits it offered to service users that was the most important, so based on that and on the announcement, I believe that the Longford-Cavan bus has a bright future in the north Longford area.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Robert Troy added, “It is great that the NTA has acknowledged its public service obligations in this; but there is no guarantee that anyone will tender for the service and what are people going to do in the intervening weeks where there is no service at all?”

 

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