Minister for Community and Rural Affairs Michael Ring has today officially launched the Local Link brand. Local Link (formerly the Rural Transport Programme) provides quality community-based public transport across rural Ireland.
The launch took place at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co Offaly.
Local Link provides both demand-responsive, door-to-door services on request, as well as scheduled bus services on fixed routes. The services are run on behalf of the NTA’s ‘Transport for Ireland’, by 17 groups throughout the country and are funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Transport for Ireland is the single public transport brand which the National Transport Authority has developed to promote and integrate public transport provision in Ireland.
The Rural Transport Programme came under the aegis of the Transport for Ireland in 2012. As a result of a restructuring programme which concluded in 2015, 17 Transport Coordination Units (TCUs) were formed to replace the 35 rural community transport groups that had previously existed.
The decision was then made to bring all these services under one brand, and to work with local operators to ensure that services were provided to a consistently professional standard, across the board. That brand is the Local Link brand that we are launching today.
Minister Michael Ring said: “Local Link is enabling people in remote rural areas to go shopping, get to hospital appointments and avail of services in their local towns and villages. With over 1.7 million such journeys taking place last year, it is providing an invaluable service to rural Ireland. The creation of the Local Link brand is an effort to increase awareness of the service as it continues to grow. I would like to very much welcome the move to bring rural transport services under the Local Link banner. I would also like to acknowledge the fact that thanks to Transport for Ireland and the National Transport Authority, these services have been going from strength to strength in rural areas across the country.
“The role that Local Link plays in working with the HSE to provide transport for people with non-emergency healthcare needs is particularly important. It is something I have seen at close quarters working well in places like Donegal and Mayo, and I believe there is great scope for rolling this out in other areas too. For example in Sligo and Leitrim alone Local Link transports up to 500 HSE service users per day. And up to 57 people travel three days a week for renal dialysis services in Sligo and Cavan General Hospitals.”
Tim Gaston, Director of Public Transport Services at the National Transport Authority said: “Local Link is in many ways the unsung hero of our public transport system. In launching the Local Link brand, we want to make sure people all over Ireland are aware that these fantastic local bus services exist, and that the work being done at local level by the likes of Local Link Laois/Offaly and is properly acknowledged.
“The message is also that Local Link is very much open for business for everybody, including people going to work, families, students, tourists and visitors.
“That is why our priority now is not just to maintain current services, but to increase and improve service levels everywhere. Already this year we have introduced over 20 brand-new routes in places like Donegal, Kerry, Cavan and here in Offaly, and with continued funding we plan to expand Local Link in the months and years ahead.”
Every year, Local Link
- Completes 1.7 million passenger journeys
- Provides 800,000 journeys for Free Travel Passengers, including 400,000 passengers who required assistance.
- Provides 230,000 service trips.
- Travels 11.2 million kilometres.
- Employs almost 900 drivers.
For more information visit the Local Link website – www.locallink.ie