Residents are devastated by the reduction of the bus route they rely upon. Photo: Seamus Enright.
Devastated West Cavan residents say the plan to cut Bus Éireann Route 30 serving Ballyconnell, Bawnboy and Swanlinbar leaves them on a road to nowhere, isolated and cut-off from the rest of county Cavan with little or no regular public service transport to the region.
The Anglo-Celt's Seamus Enright got a flavour of local reaction to the decision:
Bridget McHugh, Corlough
"I'm devastated, just devastated. I really need that bus to travel to Cavan Town. I don't drive, I use the bus at least once a week; twice sometimes if I need to be there for hospital appointments. To think that it can be taken away like that, it sickens me. I understand there are harsh times, but surely there has to be some middle ground."
Angela McCabe with the Natural Healing Centre, Ballinamore
Angela works at the Alternative Medicine Centre in Ballinamore and she says the affect of the route cut has far reaching implications for North Leitrim also.
"We support Rampaling, the Buddhist centre in Bawnboy. The people at the centre are totally dependant on that bus route, a lot of them don't own cars or have a lot of money.
"We have a lot of people called 'willing workers' who arrive from all around the work, maybe two or three per week, and they travel into Dublin, but the bus through Bawnboy is one of their only opportunities to get to this part of Cavan.
"For the centre and the people there who use it, to find that they're going to be totally cut off is just outrageous. Something has to be done or there will be a major protest over this."
Kim Boland, spokesperson for Jampaling Buddhist Centre in Bawnboy:
"It's very worrying, we have a lot of people who come here from all around the world. This week we have people from New Zealand, and they arrived here using the bus.
"I would say between 30- 40% of people who use our centre and stay here come here to Bawnboy using the bus service. Belturbet is maybe 15 miles or more away, the bus is vital for a lot of people in West Cavan, not just for the centre here. If it's gone it will be very damaging for the region, not just the centre."
Helen McGovern, Corlough:
"I travelled on it only last week when I went to St Vincent's in Dublin for a hospital appointment. My next appointment is on October 22 and the bus through Bawnboy and Ballyconnell is my only way of getting there.
"I don't drive, [so] it takes away my freedom. I hope they don't take it away, it means so much to have it. For it to go, I don't know what we'll do in this part of the county."
Marietta McGovern, Corlough:
"I get the bus from Bawnboy to get to the hospital in Cavan and Dublin. If they take the bus away, it's a huge loss to me. I don't drive and my husband is sick and hasn't been driving. It's very important for both of us - do Bus Eireann even understand how badly taking the bus away will be for people over in west Cavan?"
Margaret Quinn, Swanlinbar:
"My son Ray, who has special needs, travels to Dublin every week, and comes home at the weekend, and he's much dependant on that bus being there. He's worried sick, he doesn't know what's going to happen.
"Since he heard about the bus being pulled he's being asking me will he be OK? He's worried about getting lost now. McGeehan's and Leyden's drivers are so good - they know everyone getting on and off those buses and we all know them, it will be just terrible if its gone for good."
Aidan Curry, Swanlinbar:
"I travel from Swanlinbar to Dublin to go to Beaumont every couple of months. I have to be there every six-months for a medical condition that has to be monitored. I'd have to say this bus is a lifeline, not just for myself - which it is, but for Swanlinbar and the other towns.
"It's utterly vital, where do we go now once it's gone? We have to travel to Belturbet, I think this is disgraceful what's happening."
Sally Roe, proprietor of the Canal Café in Ballyconnell:
"I have had a lot of customers come into to me here who have been very worried about this, they're learning about his, more and more and it's hitting them hard.
"People in West Cavan depend on this bus, to lose it like that is beyond belief. For ourselves, we only opened the café recently and a lot of our customers would be people maybe getting a tea or something before the bus, that'll all be gone now, I hope they don't close it."
Margaret Brady, Bawnboy
"It's totally unacceptable. We all know that times are difficult but to remove the bus service from this part of the county is to inflict a hardship on the people here which you can't even begin to put a price on."
What Bus Éireann say:
Bus Éireann introduces a new timetable on the Donegal/Enniskillen/Dublin Airport/Dublin city Expressway Route 30
· Revised departure times from Dublin city and Dublin Airport
· Nine services each way every day serving Dublin Airport and Dublin city
· Value for money fares, starting from just €23
· Operating non-stop from Virginia to Dublin Airport and Dublin city
Bus Éireann has announced a new timetable on its Expressway Route 30 commercial service, operating via the M3 motorway, between Donegal, Dublin Airport and Dublin city. The revised Expressway Route 30 service will begin from the 14th of October 2012.
The Route 30 will operate to and from Donegal to Dublin Airport/Dublin city via Ballyshannon, Belleek, Enniskillen, Bellanaleck, Derrylin, Belturbet, Butlersbride, Cavan, Virginia and then non-stop to Dublin.
Customers travelling from Donegal to Dublin should be aware that it costs as little as €23 for an adult single or day return trip and €32 for an adult monthly return. There are also special midweek, student, family and child discounts available. Free Travel Pass holders may also use the service.
The services will depart from Donegal to Dublin at 01:00; 05:00; 07:00; 09:00; 11:00; 13:00; 15:00; 17:00 and 19:00.
The service will depart from Dublin to Donegal at 07:30, 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30, 19:30, 22:00 and 24:00 (midnight). Services will depart from Dublin Airport to Donegal at 00:20, 07:50, 09:50, 11:50, 13:50, 15:50, 17:50, 19:50 and 22:20.
There will also be revised departure times on local bus services from Donegal to west Donegal on Route 490 and 492 to ensure that connections with the Expressway services coming from Dublin are maintained.
Our Expressway services are commercial services that receive no State funding and, as such, must be commercially viable. From the 14th October, the Expressway Route 30 service will no longer serve Swanlinbar, Bawnboy and Ballyconnell due to the low number of customers using the existing service from these stops.
Customers travelling to and from Swanlibar to Enniskillen can use Bus Éireann's Route 464 service on a Thursday at 11:05 with a return service from Enniskillen to Swanlinbar at 14:50. Customers travelling to and from Ballyconnell to Cavan can use Bus Éireann's Route 465 service on a Tuesday at 10:05 with a return service from Cavan to Ballyconnell at 14:40.
The changes to the Expressway Route 30 have been licensed by the National Transport Authority.