- Double-decker buses to be rolled out
- Route under extreme pressure in recent weeks
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed confirmation from Bus Éireann that capacity is to increase on the highly-utilised 343 service, which has been under severe pressure in recent weeks.
The route travels from Ennis to Limerick, stopping in Clarecastle, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Shannon town, Shannon Airport, Sixmilebridge and other intermediate stops.
“I’m delighted to announce that Bus Éireann will start running double decker buses on the 343 service from next week on,” said Deputy Crowe.
“This route operates between many of our county’s most significant towns and Limerick and is a very popular service for people trying to get to and from work or their place of education.
“In recent months, the route corridor has become home to approximately 1,000 Ukrainian refugees living in accommodation centres in Shannon, Bunratty and the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cratloe.
“Most of these have no independent way of travelling, so they to are reliant on the 343 bus service.
“The rising cost of petrol and diesel has also made more people switch from driving their car to work to travelling by bus.
“In recent weeks, the 343 service has been crammed at virtually all times of the day and very often, buses that are full to capacity have to drive past designated stops without being able to pick up any additional passengers.
“This has caused people to be late for work or miss days from school and quite a number of frustrated people have been in contact with me.
“I’ve been in over and back correspondence with the NTA and senior Bus Éireann management and I’m delighted to confirm that capacity on this route will be increased from next week onwards, with the current single-deck buses being replaced with double-deckers.
“Bus Éireann officials have risk-assessed the route, in terms of trees and objects higher than street level that could obstruct a double-decker service and this appraisal has confirmed that it will be fully safe and viable.”