Tuesday 26 June 2007

Thank You.

Dear Limerick Post,
Thank you for coming onto this blog, having a read through it and being the first mainstream news-source to highlight the issues with transport in this city. It is especially impressive seeing as the paper depends on advertising, meaning content is generally secondary to stories which support (or at least don't dis) businesses or advertisers in the city. The people of Limerick who take the bus everyday wish to thank you whole heartily and we all want you to continue with such critical observations of services in the city (with particular emphasis on transport). Please don't let this weeks article be the last. Its a breath of fresh air for the forgotten people of this forgotten city.

Thanking you once again,
The commuting population of Limerick

I'm a Spanish journalist living in Limerick since 10 years ago and I find the media here to be completely obnoxious and ignorant on their own trade. For example, in this week post they mention your blog and a number to ring and complain, but they don't list the web address or the actual number!!
Yes, ha.. I noticed that myself, but you must commend the article itself... its a first for this city (at least in recent times) to hop off the fence and demand change. The paper highlighted some horrific stories (including one fellow walking home from the city and reaching Castletroy long before the bus did and others waiting 2 hours for a bus driver to come) and questioned Bus Eireann (who gave a poor response - directed at just that particular incident and promised new routes would improve services. The new routes is a joke, an additional route to Raheen is not whats needed, its improving the one currently there).

There is talk of the Limerick Blogger - the only real source of info on Limerick - closing down.
When i refer to the media in Limerick some may notice i always use the term 'mainstream' that is because the Limeric Blogger does not stay on the fence and dish out press releases but actually acts as a service to its readers. Luckily the Limerick Blogger will continue, with some adjustments, but it will continue, which is great news for the city.

It might also be benefitial if the told people how much the bus cost, rather than expecting them to know, all this would take is printing a sticker and placing it by the door as you're getting on.
Yes, they have (on some buses) price lists on either side of the driver when you get to him (on some buses it looks as if it has just been tipexed on, has anyone else noticed that?), what they need to do is have it printed on the timetables that they need to put up!).

In reference to Sligo town having a bus service until 0425 while Limerick City's bus service runs until 2320:
That is a shocking state of affairs, they should at least have a bus route running out to Castletroy into the early hours.
I guess they are just worried about people puking in the buses... but doesn't that happen in Sligo?!?

This incompetent Bus Eireann thing is not run for the benefit of its customers but for the convenience of its employees.

Limerick Bus generally assumes clairvoyances as passengers.

Here is the Article in full as read from LimerickPost.ie:
Three hour city bus epic
by Pamela Duncan
INCREASING numbers of Limerick’s bus faring public say they are being driven round the bend by the irregularity of Bus Eireann’s city service.One user claimed that a 30 minute trip from the city centre to Carew Park turned into a three hour epic when a driver didn’t show up for a shift.

Thirty-one people, 22 adults and nine children, who boarded the bus were stranded at a city centre bus stop.

"We got on the bus at 2.10pm. We were still there waiting for a driver at 4.20pm. We finally got into Carew Park at 4.57pm. This was just the last straw,” fumed resident Marie Feehan.

The majority were forced to walk or get a taxi when the driver didn’t show up. Eight people remained on board. The bus finally left at 4.23pm.

Marie says that seven university buses went past them in that time: "I know students need buses but so do the kids who are going to school and the people who need to make hospital and doctor’s appointments”.

When she complained, she was told that the driver hadn’t shown up for work.

Ms Feehan says that proper rosters and standby drivers have to be put in place.

She described the service to Carew Park as deplorable.

"The bus is supposed to come every half hour and we’d rarely see one in an hour. A taxi into town costs six or seven euro”.

Users of other routes have also cited complaints. One city centre resident, working in Castletroy, says the service is irregular and unreliable.

In one week alone, Darran King had to take a taxi to work three times at a cost of 10 euro each trip. He added that he and his colleagues were often reprimanded for being late.

"I’ve often waited up to an hour and a half for a bus both in the morning on William Street and in the evening in Castletroy. On one occasion, I walked from work in Castletroy to the city centre and was home before my co-workers who had waited for the bus,” Mr King said.

A resident of Lynwood Park added that she relies on the bus to pick her children up from school but has had to revert to a taxi on numerous occasions as the bus is "never on time”.

A Limerick based website has also launched a campaign to encourage bus users to make their voices heard and to complain to Bus Eireann on all issues from delays to dirty buses to rude drivers.

"This is YOUR service, are you happy waiting above and beyond the official timetable at an open air bus stop only to get on an overcrowded dirty bus? Save this number into your phone, call it every day if you must. Help them help us!” the website urges.

However, business development executive Paddy McGuinness, defended Bus Eireann’s position.

"One of the biggest problems is traffic congestion, particularly when the schools are on. We lose as many as 300 services per month due to traffic congestion alone,” he told the Limerick Post. "It can be very difficult at times to get buses moving around the city”.

He added that other eventualities, such as break downs, occasionally having to call off buses due to vandalism and drivers calling in sick, also had an affect.

However, he added that they do have standby drivers and employ private contractors during busy periods.

He added that the introduction of bus lanes would have a positive affect on the frequency of the service. He said that new routes were planned for Annacotty, Monaleen, Raheen, the Dock Road and Thomond Village, while the Coonagh and UL routes would also improve city services.

The Bus Eireann spokesperson added that complaints are welcomed. "Customers are our bread and butter,” Mr McGuinness said, adding that people can contact Bus Eireann on their general number or by filling in a complaint form at Colbert Station

Friday 8 June 2007

Limerick Media

I'm just after realising how the media in this city never do anything. They never pressurise for change, they never have much reader access. All mainstream Limerick media do is regurgitate press releases.

The papers never actually raise issues, they only speak of when others do and no paper (not even the post) takes a side. Maybe that's why we have been screwed in every way... the media of Limerick, unlike most other city's, does not group for change.

The city is stuck in old-fashioned impartial journalism which is not helping the development of the city. Never has a journalist questioned Bus Eireann for incompetence or compared our services to another city. Whenever we see such work in the papers, it has been done by an outside group and the story picks up the story.

This has only dawned on me now, once again travelling has opened this up to me. Has anyone else noticed this or am i way off?!?!?!

Wednesday 6 June 2007

Take A Stand

On my recent travels I came across a fantastic idea, people in Chicago are recommended by a newspaper (which has a page devoted to complaints on Chicago Transit) to keep the complaints number saved on their mobile phones and call it over any minor thing!

Now, after some research I found found Bus Eireann do not provide that service locally, nor nationally! But I have found contact info of use.

Call this number if the 16.00 bus doesn't arrive until 16.07!
Call this number if the 16.00 bus never arrives but the 16.20 does!
Call this number if the bus is dirty or drawn on!
Call this number if the driver was impolite!
Call this number if the cushion falls of or moves when you sit down!
Call this number if you have ANY little issue with the service!

Every time you have any minor issue call, if that means you call 7 days a week then so be it! Bus Eireann will not improve this service unless we take a stand.

This is YOUR city, are you happy with Bus Eireann representing you to tourists?
This is YOUR service, are you happy waiting above and beyond the official timetable at an open air bus stop only to get on an overcrowded dirty bus?


Miriam Flynn , Area Manager
John Power, Services Manager
(061) 418855

Tell Bus Eireann you want a route map to know where buses go.
Tell Bus Eireann you want an on-board announcer.
Tell Bus Eireann you want a shelter and seat at your bus stop.
Tell Bus Eireann you want an accurate timetable.
Tell Bus Eireann you want a personalised timetable for every stop, at that stop.
Tell Bus Eireann you travel around the city before 7am and after 11pm.
Tell Bus Eireann you want to ride on clean buses.
Tell Bus Eireann you want the ceiling to be screwed on.
Tell Bus Eireann you want the seats attached to the bus.

Tell them those points don't lead to a great service, they lead to an adequate one, great would involve enough buses so people don't need to endanger their lives to get home using public transport at rush hour - don't have people standing, put on extra buses. It would involve screens at every stop detailing how long the next bus will take. It would involve running every day of the year (including extra services for St. Patricks Day Parade when thousands of people are trying to head into the city centre - instead of cancelling services.). It would involve taking all the information on the city's bus service and popping it in every door of the city and suburbs. It would involve having bike racks on the front of these buses to facilitate cyclists. It would invlove having a hotline which people with issues could call to complain about. It would involve a lot of change on the part of Bus Eireann.

Call them - Tell them, and Take A Stand

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Ideas for a navigable city

1. Increased funding - Bus Eireann/Government
HIRE more Drivers, BUY more buses, BUILD nicer bus stops, DESIGN route map, PROVIDE route and service information at each stop for that exact stop, SURVEY when the buses do actually arrive and depart and create a correct timetable and MAINTAIN buses

2. Late Night Service - Bus Eireann
INTRODUCE late night services on 3 or 4 of the most popular routes. Double ticket prices to fund this. Such services are already operated in other city's by Bus Eireann

3. Leave O'Connell Street with a bus lane - Limerick City Council
At some point i heard that plans meant that there would be a lane open for transport and emergency services when the street becomes pedestrianised. This wouldn't really affect the pedestrians much and would make alot more sense then the current plan of having the buses run along less populated streets which are narrower and some are questionable whether a bus really could turn onto them and have space for stops along the way.

4. Introduce a City Trolley service - Limerick City Council
3 old fashioned bus type things running loops of the city would be great for the elderly, tourists and just generally getting around the city centre. Cheap fairs and a 15 minute (or less) March through September service would be great. Stopping at all tourist attractions, shopping areas and other popular areas. Could be funded by local Tourism bodies/ advertising/ hotels and chamber of commerce etc.

5. On-Board Spoken Notices
Pre-recorded bits such as:

"Next Stop 'The Crescent Shopping Centre', get off at 'The Crescent Shopping Centre' for The Omniplex Cinema, County Offices and Library and The Crescent Shopping Centre"

"This is 'The Crescent O'Connell Street'"
"Next Stop 'St. Pauls Church, Dooradoyle' get off at 'St. Pauls Church, Dooradoyle' for main shopping and eating heart of Dooradoyle and Fr. Russell Road residental area" "This is the 304 bus outbound to Raheen"

"This is 'St. Pauls Church, Dooradoyle'"
"Next Stop 'Hospital', get off at 'Hospital' for Limerick Regional Hospital and HSE regional services. Also, transfere to commuter services to 'Adare' and 'Rathkeale'.

and so on... all too often people have no idea where to get off, it would really make the whole experience a whole lot easier for those not used to the routes.


If you build it, they will come???

This must have been the mind frame of city planners as they redid the Ennis Road and added a bus lane, and reduced space for cars. Excellent plan, right? WRONG!

What they failed to take into account was that the Ennis Road was struggling traffic wise as it was, it is often a bottleneck at rush hour. BUT, the bus lane would increase people taking the bus cutting the numbers of cars entering the city, right? WRONG again! The only bus that runs along this route is the once-hourly Coonagh bus, which then gets stuck where the bus lane comes to an abrupt end at Ivan's.

Feel this is best summed up by Boards.ie user PonderStibbons:
I'm impressed, in a perverted sort of way. It's like they sat down and thought: "Right, where can we put a bus lane that will serve the absolute least number of buses possible, and at the same time cause the maximum amount of inconvenience to drivers?"

It must have taken some planning - if they had just thrown a dart at a map of Limerick and put a bus lane wherever it landed it would be almost certain to have been more beneficial.

The people of Raheen/Dooradoyle are fighting a different case, demanding the City Council build a bus lane into the city centre along O'Connell Ave as promised. But it now looks as if the council are going to reverse this decision which leaves the people, 15,000 or so on that side of the city, with a bus lane to nowhere.

The Council have faced opposition from the people living along the proposed bus route, saying they need the roadway for parking. Its amazing the Council are backing down to this, seeing as they have the power to demand cars do not park along the public roadway at all.

But, the Mayor had something up his sleeve to fix the issue at hand, he has found a way to give both Raheen/Dooradoyle citizens their bus lane and O'Connell Ave residents their parking space. He intends to recommend the Dock Road as the new route for Raheen bound buses, he also wants to have 2 way bus lanes running along the road.

Dock Road - Dangerously busy
Crescent Shopping Centre and 60% of stops - Not accessible from the Dock Road

This is one of those more interesting transport story's at the moment.


Boards.ie users question the city's lack of a nighttime bus service, something we have already commented on, would you pay double the day fair for its services?

Some fellas on the aforementioned site have drawn up their own little plans for a light rail service for the city.Linkage