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Local Link buses providing a vital shopping lifeline

April 15th, 2020 11:55 AM

By Southern Star Team

The Bere Island Local Link bus driver Gemma Hunt pictured with ferry operator Colum Harrington.

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BY HELEN RIDDELL

RURAL transport provider Local Link Cork has started a new prescription collection and delivery service for those who are unable to travel due Covid-19 restrictions.

It was forced to suspend its  evening services on door-to-door routes (DRT) although it is continuing all other Local Link services, for now.

Jack McNulty, operations manager of Local Link Bantry, said the delivery service was initially being trialled in the Bantry area, but will now be rolled out across West Cork. ‘We will collect from all pharmacies in Bantry town at 11am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, and aim to have prescriptions delivered within the hour.

‘All our drivers are locally-based, and know the area and the people they will be delivering to, so it’s the added assurance for those availing of the service that they will recognise the driver,’ he said. Mr McNulty said he had been liaising with local gardaí and pharmacies ahead of launching the service.   

Rural transport bus services are continuing to run throughout West Cork, and to maintain social distancing. Mr McNulty says on busier routes they are running larger buses.

‘There has generally been a big drop-off in people travelling, but we will continue to operate the service. It’s a lifeline for people.’

On the Beara peninsula, a bus based in Castletownbere brings people from outlying townlands on the peninsula into Castletownbere for shopping, and also collects shopping for those who are self-isolating.

Gemma Hunt is the driver for the Bere Island rural transport bus which travels to the mainland on Tuesdays and Fridays, and while she says most people are not travelling on the bus now, due to social distancing, the bus service means they still have provisions delivered.

‘Islanders can ring through their orders to Murphy’s SuperValu in Castletownbere and I will collect for them and drop them to their door, maintaining social distancing at all times. Chris Downey and his team in SuperValu have been fantastic in preparing the orders and loading them onto the bus with me.’

Local Link can be contacted at 027-52727.

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