A bus driver, who is trying to set up a Naas Hospital bus service from Monasterevin, Kildare and Newbridge, is furious that plans for a bus stop at the facility have been turned down.
Glen Whelan of Whelan’s Coach Hire, decided to set up the service a number of months ago, but says since then he feels like he is banging his head against a brick wall.
“Kildare County Council are dragging their feet over this. I have talked with them on numerous occasions and been given numbers for about eight different people in there,” he explained.
“I wanted to put in a bus stop on the road outside the hospital. I gave them the option of putting it either side, it didn’t matter to me, I could go clockwise or anti-clockwise around the lake. They told me there would be health and safety issues with it. Then I was told they would have to take out three parking spaces and they would lose the revenue on that and I would have to pay E3,000 a year to make up the loss, plus around E1,000 to E1,500 for the installation of the bus stop.
“I thought about it, and worked it out that it would only be E60 a week so then I went back in with my cheque book and they told me that wasn’t on the table anymore. Then they told me I would have to apply for planning permission and that could take up to six months. I am fed up with this, I just can’t seem to get anywhere.”
Then he was informed last Thursday May 23 that the application had been turned down as there was no space for bus bays on the road.
Glen has spoken to a member of the licenced Bus Operators (IBO), who is also a Dublin councillor and he informed him that bus operators should not be charged for loss of revenue due to bus stops taking up parking spaces.
Mr Whelan also explained that responsibility for bus stops’ permission has been transferred from the gardai to the local councils since February.
“This is a much needed service for people from those towns and even for people in Naas. It’s a long walk from the town centre if you are an elderly person or are sick,” stressed the Kildangan resident.
Cllr. Paddy Kennedy has slammed the decision.
“It’s disgraceful. We have a hospital with no bus stop and the nearest place people can get off the current bus services is in the town centre. This is not just a Naas issue, it concerns everyone across the county who uses the hospital,” he said.
He said he would be calling on all the county councillors to support the installation of the bus bay and stop. He has also raised the matter with Cllr. Mark Wall, who is chairman of the Transport Special Policy Committee.
A spokesperson for Kildare County Council said; “Kildare County Council’s roads department had received an application.”
Kildare County Council confirmed in a letter to Mr Whelan last week that it was refusing the application due to the lack of availability of bus bays at both Naas Hospital and the Vista Primary Care Clinic.