Local disability advocate, James Cawley, last week hit out at Bus Éireann after failure to provide a place on a bus for him resulted in extra costs of €200 and an additional four hours on his two hour journey home from Ballina. This week, Bus Éireann have responded:
"Wheelchair accessible bookings are made via a helpline number, which is available on Bus Éireann’s website.
"A booking request was not made to us via the customer care helpline in this case, so therefore the booking could not be processed.
"However, Route 22 Dublin to Ballina is also not a designated accessible route, as specific bus stop infrastructure is required for this.
"While over 90% of Bus Éireann and Expressway fleet is accessible, we work with the National Transport Authority and local councils regarding bus stop infrastructure.
"Phone bookings allow us to ensure a wheelchair place is available, and to prepare our coaches for a wheelchair user - via the removal of passenger seats - so the chair can be secured safely into place where vehicles are travelling up to 100kph. The operation of the wheelchair lift also needs to be checked.
"We require 24 hour notice of travel for this, on accessible inter-city routes.
"All of Bus Éireann’s city and town services are fully accessible, and a list of inter-city accessible routes can be found at www.buseirean.ie/accessibility."