Home News Community Stops, schedule and timeframe – the new Portlaoise bus service explained

Stops, schedule and timeframe – the new Portlaoise bus service explained

Portlaoise Bus Map

A new bus service for the town of Portlaoise is hoped to be in operation by early 2024.

The issue has long been a topic of discussion at Laois County Council meetings and would see a new dedicated bus service with two routes in the town of Portlaoise with up to 70 stops. The routes will share four stops in the town centre – at Laois Shopping Centre, Lyster Square, Top Square and Portlaoise Train Station.

It was explained at a recent Portlaoise Municipal District meeting that the plan is well progressed, though is behind similar schemes in Carlow and Clonmel. The project is being financed by the National Transport Authority.

One route would begin at the Bellingham estate on the Mountrath road before turning left at Portlaoise College and right at Harpurs Lane to go by Scoil Bhride Knockmay.

It would then link back up with the Mountmellick Road, go through the top square in Portlaoise and turn left onto James Fintan Lalor past Laois County Council and Laois Shopping Centre.

That route would go up the Stradbally Road with stops at St Fintan’s Hospital and at the junction at Summerhill close to four of the town’s primary schools – Holy Family, Educate Together, Maryborough and the Gaelscoil. It will then turn left down the Block Road and back onto the Dublin Road. There are plans for bus stops at both entrances of the Midlands Regional Hospital.

There are then three further stops before it finishes in Kilminchy.

The other route will start at the roundabout where the Northern Relief Road intersects with the Ballyfin Road. It will continue on the relief road to take in Fairgreen before travelling back into town via the Mountmellick Road where it has numerous stops including Portlaoise AFC grounds Rossleighan and at the old Dunne’s Stores.

Portlaoise Bus Map

That route also travels down James Fintan Lalor avenue, past the church and then up the Borris Road, with stops at St Brigid’s, St Francis school and at Scoil Chríost Rí and Portlaoise CBS. It will finish about half way down Colliers Lane.

“The routes have been designed by the National Transport Authority with full regard to population/district numbers, Central Statistics Office data on the quantities and nature of town centre trips etc,” explains Simon Walton, Director of Service in Laois County Council.

“The service, once operational, will operate a half hourly service Monday to Saturday, from 7am to midnight.

“Subject to clarification closer to the commencement date, services on Sundays are likely to operate on the hour from 9am to 10pm, aside from mid-day to 6pm, where an half hourly service is likely to be available.

“The service will provide for two busses per route – ie four busses in total operating each day.

“Based on costs for similar services elsewhere, cash journeys will cost in or around €1.60. The Transport for Ireland (TFI) Leap Card will be accepted on the service, currently giving a 30% discount on the price to use the Service.

“The delivery and the operation of the Portlaoise Town Bus Service is fully funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA), with logistical/design support from Laois County Council.

“With no significant, external changes in circumstances, I am confident that the service will become operational in 2024 and we are doing everything we can to ensure the service commences in early 2024.

“There are two outstanding items for completion. The first is for the NTA to give consent to Laois County Council, whereby the Council will advertise a tender and oversee the construction of the 70-odd Bus Stops, all to be provided as fully accessible Bus Stops, in accordance with road design standards etc.

“The second is for the NTA to advertise a tender for the operation of the service and appoint an operator who, under contract with the NTA, will implement the service on a day to day basis, provide the bus drivers, bus parking depot and the administrative supports required to deliver a service of this nature.”

At the most recent Portlaoise Municipal District meeting in Laois County Council, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald asked for an update on when the service will be operational.

She expressed her frustration at the length of time it is taking for it to come to fruition.

“This is taking a bit of time,” she said. “Athlone got new electric busses recently. We have a bigger population in Portlaoise.

Cllr Fitzgerald argued that the service should also take in the Abbeyleix Road.

“This is a very important service for the town and we need to push it,” she added. “I would like to see action and a quicker response from the NTA.”

Cllr Fitzgerald was supported in her motion by Cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley and Cllr John Joe Fennelly.

“We are constantly asking when this is going to be operational,” said Cllr Dwane-Stanley.

“Portlaoise is a pilot town for a low carbon initiative. We have been talking about this now for at least six or seven years and our population has grown massively. It is badly needed now at this stage.”

“We were expecting this three or four years ago,” added Cllr John Joe Fennelly. We’re well past that now at this stage.”

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