MORE bus drivers will be recruited in Cork to help Bus Éireann fulfil their full timetable a representative from the company said at a recent MD meeting.
Aled Williams, who is the Senior Operations Manager (South) for Bus Éireann, was replying to a query from Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath at the recent Carrigaline Municipal District meeting. Councillor McGrath said concerns with regards to reliability issues had been raised by his constituents.
“Some reliability issues have been raised with me about buses failing to turn up and buses turning up very late. I appreciate the environment you are working in with Covid and I appreciate it has been difficult to maintain service levels,” he said.
Mr Williams said they will be recruiting extra bus drivers. “The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for us operationally to fulfil our full timetable. Going forward we are recruiting extra drivers to provide additional contingencies. We are about to take on our first ever car licence holders and train them from scratch to drive a bus which is good for the local job market in Cork.
“We do engage regularly with the National Transport Authority with regards to punctuality reviews on every route across the city. One interesting thing since the pandemic, is that morning and evening peaks have shifted due to homeworking.
"It is a constant evolution for us with our timetable with the NTA to ensure they are fit for purpose with the ever-changing traffic patterns,” he added.
Fianna Fáil councillor Audrey Buckley raised the issue of anti-social behaviour on buses. Cllr Buckley said she hoped Bus Éireann will take it seriously.
“The summer season for us started about a month ago. The buses are full of kids coming down and there is a lot of drinking and anti-social behaviour. I’m hoping that you are going to actually take it seriously.”
In response, Mr Williams said Bus Éireann have employed the use of a private security contractor for around three years. “We employ the use of a private security contractor that is mobile and able to attend to any vehicles that are experiencing any issues. The contract has been in place for around three years. Over that time, it has been enhanced from what was initially implemented.
“We regularly engage with our trade unions and our driver representatives so when we anticipate any potential areas where there may be anti-social behaviour, we are pre-empting in deploying that resource as necessary,” he added.