Clare Accessible Transport has committed to providing a community assistance service throughout the COVID-19 crisis – despite losing its local link contract last week.
Concern had been expressed that the Clare Bus service would be forced to close down from today, after the National Transport Authority appointed a caretaker operator to run its own buses on their routes on an interim basis.
However, rather than close up shop and leave their buses sitting in the yard, Clare Accessible Transport has committed to running their vehicles along their routes to provide a drop off and delivery service for essential supplies for vulnerable people.
Chair Ger Hoey has been telling Clare FM’s James Mulhall that he believes with their unique knowledge of the county, they are best placed to do so.
UPDATE: Statement from Local Link
Local Link public transport services in Clare are to be run by a new operator from this week, but there is no interruption or disruption in services arising from this change, according to the National Transport Authority and Local Link Limerick/Clare.
This change has come about as a result of the fact that previous operator Clare Bus did not sign contracts that were offered to them arising from a competitive tender at the end of last year, when the company was the successful tenderer for 12 routes in the county.
The fact that they did not sign the contracts by the deadline set by the Authority meant that for the sake of customers across the county, National Transport Authority and Local Link Limerick/Clare were left with no option but to put alternative measures in place.
Under those measures, three of the routes that were to have been operated by Clare Bus have been awarded to tenderers who placed second in last year’s procurement process. Those contracts will be awarded for one year, in line with the provisions of that procurement process.
The other nine routes will be run on an interim basis by a Clare-based operator, who is qualified to provide these services. Those contracts have been awarded by NTA under the relevant legislative powers, and are of three-month duration.
A new public competition for the operation of those nine routes will get under way very shortly.
All vehicles contracted for the delivery of rural transport services are wheelchair accessible.