Older people often have feelings of isolation and loneliness and unfortunately, this problem is even more common for elderly individuals residing in rural areas. As people get older or suffer from ill health, they may find it difficult to drive. While in larger cities, there is often some form of public transport available, in rural areas the service may not be as easy to come by.
Keep reading to find out more about elderly-friendly transport service providers in rural areas of Ireland.
Free Bus and Rail Travel Pass
Anyone over the age of 66 in Ireland is eligible for a Free bus and rail Travel Pass which can be used on most Bus Éireann and Irish Rail services. In recent years, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has implemented a number of schemes to improve public transport routes in rural areas of Ireland. These services are run by Bus Éireann and fall under the remit of Transport For Ireland. This means these new transport services are free for elderly persons with a Free Travel Pass living in rural areas.
As demand for public transportation in rural Ireland rises, local transport providers have increased their services and lengthened their routes. Local Link is one of these service providers and there are 17 Local Link offices around the country.
Local Link thrive to provide a safe and reliable transport service in areas of the country that are located further from main transportation hubs. It is a Transport For Ireland initiative and as such, the free travel pass is accepted on their routes. If you want to find out the local link office for your region, check out their website https://locallink.ie/en/
Bus Éireann operate a number of regional services, along with town-to-town services across the entire island of Ireland. Some of the routes in regional areas are only operational during the summer months. This is to accommodate the influx of people to rural areas. Some of the regional services operate once a day, while others operate once a week.
Bus Éireann are a main provider of bus services between towns and larger cities, and to and from Dublin. As a subsidiary of Transport For Ireland, passengers can use their Free Travel Pass on any Bus Éireann route. You can have a look at the timestables here: http://www.buseireann.ie/inner.php?id=245##stage
Irish Rail provide a train service around the country. These routes are, however, InterCity and Commuter services. This means that the lines extend from city to city, and sometimes pass through smaller towns along the way. The Free Travel Pass is valid on all Irish Rail services. Unfortunately, the services are not entirely accessible to people living in smaller towns and villages, but is a way for people to travel easily and comfortably between the bigger cities.
Have a look at their timetables, and search by station name online: http://www.irishrail.ie/timetables/station
Local health centres, clinics and hospitals provide patient transportation for outpatients. This ensures that patients without access to cars or public transport can make it to their health appointment. The best way to find out about the transport services provided by your local clinics, day centres and respite care facilities is to visit your local Citizens Information office.