Contributing much to the western economy, these heroic commuters undertake a two to three hour return journey each day through the scenic West of Ireland.
Most of these commuters follow their “thoughts and dreams” along the famous Saw Doctors N17 route between Claremorris and Tuam. Others navigate the alternative N83 and N84 routes through Ballyhaunis – Dunmore or Ballinrobe – Headford. Every day 21,310 vehicles funnel through Claregalway on the N17.
Many of these determined commuters work on the East side of Galway City in Parkmore or Mervue Industrial Estates. They originate from towns like Claremorris, Castlebar, Westport and even as far as Ballina and Swinford and also from counties Sligo and Roscommon. Starting out each morning while their families are still soundly asleep, they aim to reach Galway City between 7am and 9am to start their working day and generally won’t return home until 7pm each evening if they are lucky.
The Mayo-Galway commuter represent the largest traffic volumes in Connaught and traffic has been growing year on year. In addition to those travelling to work, another commuter group are patients making their way to the Galway hospitals and students attending NUIG and GMIT and those travelling from Galway to Ireland West Airport Knock and to work in the larger Mayo towns.
Recent low oil prices have provided a welcome saving for these hardworking commuters. With the average spend on the family car being €10,600 per annum; it is not unreasonable to estimate that each of these Mayo-Galway commuters are paying as much as €3,000 in taxes per annum as a direct result of their daily commute. Contributing as much as €30 million per annum to government coffers in addition to their income tax payments, these commuters are beginning to see some relief for their money with the building of the M17 Motorway and the potential reopening of the Mayo-Galway rail line.
Every three years, these Mayo-Galway commuters work the equivalent of an extra year by spending 10 to 15 hours each week commuting. Often sitting in a stationary car, waiting for the traffic jam to abate in places like Tuam or Claregalway. Each commuter generates as much as 7 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum and drink gallons of coffee while listening to radio stations as diverse as Mid West Radio and Galway Bay FM to iRadio, Newstalk and RTE.
Every hour saved on the commute is an extra hour to spend with family, walking, cycling or other pursuits. There is so much to see and do in Ireland West, but little daylight hours for these hard pressed commuters to enjoy during weekdays. Every hour is precious and by enabling travel at up to 120 kilometres per hour instead of the current crawl speed, every kilometre of motorway built along Ireland’s western arc greatly shortens the commute.