THE people of Bellanaleck will not take changes to Bus Eireann’s Expressway service “lying down” following proposals by the transport provider to reduce the number of stops in the village.
That’s according to Owen Wilson, secretary of the community association, who expressed his concern over any change to the service which he says has become a “necessity” in the area.
Presently the service, designated as Route 30, runs nine times every day, making stops at Belleek, Enniskillen, Bellanaleck and Derrylin and also just across the Border in Belturbet, County Cavan.
It’s understood the number of services between Donegal town and Dublin will be increasing from nine to 13 daily. But the service will only stop in Belleck, Bellanaleck, Derrylin and Belturbet on every second trip.
“People travel from surrounding towns to access the service, it just seems an unnecessary complication,” Mr. Wilson told this newspaper. 
“They need the service for work, for holidays. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he said. 
George Thornton, chairman of the community association, says he wants “continuity” and said any changes would “not be acceptable.” 
“Every bus route and timings have to be the same. We don’t know the next bus coming if it is going to stop or not, the public is going to be completely confused,” said Mr. Thornton.
Ruby Arnold enjoys getting the bus so she can visit her family and says she will “feel terrible if the service is changed because I think it is lovely to go on this bus.”
“This service, if they do take it off, will be disastrous,” said local resident Fiona Acheson.
Marion Maxwell said it would be “most unsatisfactory” if the service were scheduled to stop sometimes at Bellanaleck and not at others. 
“The fact that the Donegal Dublin service goes via Dublin Airport makes it a really important service for this locality and I would be very much opposed to any changes,” she said. 
Ulster Unionist Councillor Alex Baird told Tuesday night’s meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council how important the service is to the area and asked that the Council write to the company to “point out they are penny pinching.”
Sinn Fein’s Barry Doherty spoke of the “demand” along the route, particularly in the Derrylin area, but accepted that the company has to “take commercial decisions.”
SDLP Councillor John Coyle praised the “vital service” and said “non stops are not acceptable.” 
In a statement released to the Impartial Reporter recently, Bus Eireann blamed “significant losses” last year for its decision.
A spokesperson said: “Expressway Route 30 is a commercial service that receives no State funding. Details relating to this business, and operation of its routes, are commercially sensitive. 
“The company is only starting to recover after significant losses last year.”