Fine Gael Cllr John Naughten.

Call for more bus shelters on Roscommon side of Athlone

Roscommon County Council is to convene a meeting with the National Transport Authority to discuss an improvement and expansion of bus services in the Monksland and Bealnamulla areas of Athlone.

The need for service improvements was raised at the July meeting of the Athlone Municipal District of the Council last week when Cllr John Naughten sought an update on when additional bus shelters will be provided on the Connaught side of the town.

In his motion, the Fine Gael Cllr said additional bus shelters are “urgently required” in both Monksland and Bealnamulla, and he urged the Council to do everything possible to have them provided before the winter months.

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent after the meeting, Cllr Naughten said “a large number of service users have raised this issue with me, and while I agree that the bus service in Athlone is a very good service and is very well used, there is a need for additional bus shelters particularly for elderly people and young mothers with buggies.”

He added that it is “unacceptable” to have bus users “standing out in the rain” while waiting for a bus, and pointed out that with the current emphasis on sustainable travel, people are being encouraged to use public transport rather than take their cars into the centre of Athlone.

“This makes the provision of additional bus shelters all the more important” he said.

Cllr Naughten said Monksland currently has three bus shelters and he is seeking an additional six shelters to serve the greater area of Monksland/Bealnamulla. “I would also like to see the bus service being extended out to Summerhill in due course” he added.

In their response to Cllr Naughten, Roscommon County Council said that the Covid pandemic had “hindered previous attempts” to have an on-site meeting with the National Transport Authority to discuss “service expansion and improvements” on the West side area of Athlone.

However, the Council confirmed that they are “in discussions with the NTA” about re-arranging this meeting.