In five years, 70% of people in rural Ireland will have access to public transport services that provide at least three return trips daily to a nearby town, according to the National Transport Authority.
The target set by the body in its Connecting Ireland plan will expand on the current availability of public transport for 53% of the rural population.
The plan aims to increase public transport connectivity and service levels particularly for rural Ireland and will benefit as many as 100 rural villages.
Viable public transport
Launching the plan, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “This Connecting Ireland plan will significantly increase both the number of routes and the frequency of existing services right across the country. Hundreds of rural villages and areas will for the first time be served by a viable public transport link. If we are to deliver on our emissions targets, we need to make sure that people have the services and alternatives they need.”
The improved mobility options for those in remote areas will be accompanied and enabled by the provision of Demand Responsive and other innovative transport services.
CEO of the NTA Anne Graham said: “We know that for many people, living in a village or in a rural area can mean that accessing services, or employment, or education, or even retail is difficult if not impossible, without using a private car. We want to change that.”
The NTA is now seeking the views of people living in rural Ireland.
Those interested are encouraged to go to nationaltransport.ie to find further detail on Connecting Ireland proposals and provide feedback for their locality.