Businesses in Claremorris claim they are losing vital trade because their premises are being blocked daily by buses.
For the past 19 years, Bus Eireann has operated a pick-up service at a bus stop on Mount Street. However, following a change to bus routes and timetables last August, buses are now parked for several hours on a daily basis outside three businesses on the usually busy street. The buses, which are used as a shuttle service for passengers travelling to and from Ballina to Galway, are being driven from Claremorris to Kiltimagh, Swinford and Foxford at regular intervals. They are parked on Mount Street between 12.40pm to 2.25pm and 3.30pm to 5.25pm.
The three businesses are a drying cleaning service run by Frank Finnegan, Up Town Curls hairdressers and Michael Griffin Estate Agents and Auctioneers. All are located near the bus stop.
Speaking to the Western People, Mr Finnegan said the buses are parked up during their busiest trading hours.
“We have had nine months of torture. The buses are being parked outside our businesses and once they are parked, the large vehicles are blocking all light coming into the premises and people who are standing across the road have no view whatsoever of our buildings.
“These trips could be done using minibuses as there are very few passengers using this service. Sometimes, if the bus from Galway is late, this shuttle bus will leave without any passengers at all.”
Mr Finnegan said that the owners of the three businesses have made telephone contact on several occasions with Bus Eireann but have always bee n directed to e-mail their queries, which they have done to no avail.
“Initially, they put us on to Transport Infrastructure Ireland, who directed us back to Bus Eireann. The local Chamber of Commerce contacted Bus Eireann on our behalf but to no avail. We have also contacted local councillors and TDs, who have also been frustrated with the response they got back.”
Mr Finnegan added: “We have no problem with the bus stop located outside our premises over the years. In fact, if it was raining we would give waiting passengers shelter inside the doors of our businesses. We have always been accommodating. The problem is our businesses are being blocked during trading hours which is stopping vital trade.”