FOR the second weekend in a row, and just weeks after the new Skibbereen to Killarney bus service began, there was confusion for passengers about the schedule.
Passengers in Killarney last Saturday, expecting to depart at noon for Skibbereen, saw a ‘cancelled’ message appearing on the TFI (Transport for Ireland) app for the 270 Route to Skibbereen, from the Kerry town.
Some made alternative arrangements to reach Skibbereen via Cork City, a much longer route, involving two buses.
But, when contacted by The Southern Star on Monday, a Bus Eireann spokesperson said that all Route 270 services, including the noon Killarney to Skibbereen service, ‘operated as per schedule’ on Sunday, July 23rd.
‘This appears to have been incorrect information appearing on the TFI app.
‘Bus Éireann are investigating this matter to ensure it does not recur,’ they added.
This is the second time there has been confusion concerning the weekend service, which was only introduced at the end of June, and had been described as a possible ‘game-changer’ for tourism in West Cork. The previous weekend, the lunchtime bus from Killarney was a no-show, according to a number of passengers who commented on The Southern Star’s Facebook page.
One man drove from Skibbereen to Killarney to pick up Norwegian tourists who had been told there was no lunchtime service to West Cork and would be no further services that afternoon.
But, on arrival in Killarney, he was frustrated to find a bus leaving at 3pm for Skibbereen.
Another passenger said they could no longer rely on the service because of mixed messages about bus times from staff.
Local TD, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), who had earlier welcomed the new route, said it was a shame to see that passengers had been seriously inconvenienced by poor messaging from Bus Éireann and TFI. ‘Obviously, this is a new route and sometimes new routes take time to bed in,’ he added, ‘but I certainly will be contacting Bus Éireann and TFI to enquire as to how these miscommunications and cancellation have come about and hopefully over time the route will run smoothly and will be reliable.’