A family-run bus company operating in Kilkenny for more than 70 years is ending local services due to soaring costs.
Buggy’s Coaches operating routes between Kilkenny and Castlecomer and Ballyragget for 72 years will end for good on Friday after exhausting all avenues to keep the routes going.
When the privately-run operated routes cease no other bus operators are prepared to take them over due to spiralling transport costs.
In a statement Buggys Coaches Ltd said: “With great regret we must announce – all local bus routes suspended from Friday night due to hugely increased costs.
“After 72 years of continuous operation. All transport will be free on Friday as we say goodbye and thank all our customers. Our tours and day trips will continue to operate.
Denis Buggy of Buggys Coaches explained that they have been in discussions with the Department of Transport in a bid to secure funding to assist them or other private operators.
Speaking on KCLRFM local radio station Mr Buggy said: “I didn’t want to go off into the sunset as I couldn’t look people in the eye if I didn’t try or get the Department of Transport involved to see if another bus operator would buy the licence.
“The Department said in writing after two months of us trying that there would be no funding forthcoming and no private operators would be interested in taking the route over due to costs.
“This is not just about providing a bus route, it’s about helping communities to stay alive, giving much needed services and indeed a form of social interaction for people.”
Mr Buggy pointed out that the Department explained there would be funding for other private bus operators adding: “They have many people like ourselves who have to suspend operations due to the cost of operation being now much greater than revenue.”
Mr Buggy, who lives in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny revealed that having spoken with other providers they too are also downsizing their fleet of buses with some halving their routes to try and stay in business.
He said that State-run coach services do not pay VAT, excise or duty and are able to purchase fuel at 20c per litre.
“Private coach operators are not allowed any of these benefits and we have to buy our diesel at €1.95 per litre,” said Mr Buggy.