Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
I would like to thank the Deputy for his question and the opportunity to update on progress made to provide a bus service for Ennis.
The National Transport Authority has advised that in December 2022, with the assistance of TFI Local Link and the Ennis 2040 team, a route test exercise was carried out on the preferred bus route alignments. Whilst final routes may change slightly for operational or coverage considerations, the route test exercise confirmed the feasibility of the current plan.
This year, the NTA’s Service Planning team, in collaboration with the Ennis 2040 team, will be undertaking a number of steps including: finalising the preferred routes, and developing detailed stop and terminus designs, taking account of existing and future active travel and other schemes within the town.
During quarter three and quarter four this year, the NTA’s Service Planning team will be finalising all documents required to commence an operator procurement and the procurement of infrastructure installation and associated works. The commencement of the operator procurement and infrastructure installation will be progressed as soon as possible following completion of the service planning process but will be subject to the requirements of the procurement processes.
The NTA has advised that the commencement date for the Town Bus Service is targeted for Q1 2025 and will be confirmed more precisely as the process is worked through. It is intended that the fleet for the new service in Ennis will be fully electrified, and discussions are ongoing between the NTA and the Local Authority to secure land for the necessary charging infrastructure to accommodate that.
In the meantime, the NTA will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that any measures and opportunities to shorten this timeline would be availed of, without compromising the integrity of the process, or the ability of both the NTA and Clare County Council the achieve their longer-term objectives for Ennis.