East Cork Municipality Cllrs told Bus Eireann on Monday last that they expect a shelter at most bus stops, expanded routes, and increased frequency of bus services throughout the region.
The Councillors told Tim O’Leary Bus Eireann‘s Southern Operations manager, that in areas where there is an infrequency of service, it’s especially tough on people who attend college or work late into the evening.
For other transit users it can be difficult to get anywhere at any time of the day.
Committee Chairman, Noel Collins said he has been raising the bus issues for over three decades.
He said in 1986 he was “advised that a small bus office and waiting room was under consideration for Midleton Centre, with no progress to date.”
The Independent Cllr said he had also proposed that a one hourly bus service to Ballinacurra be extended to cover additional bus services to Whitegate serving Upper Aghada, Roche’s Point and Guileen.
Cllr Danielle Twomey, while backing Cllr Collins, said she was also concerned that Dungourney did not have a service.
The Sinn Fein Cllr said “the people of Dungourney are abandoned”
She added that a bus shelter should be considered at the end of Midleton Main Street near the Babies Walk where many elderly queue for the bus which “sometimes doesn’t even come”
Cllr Michael Hegarty said with the reorganisation of time tables several areas could see an improved service.
The Fine Gael Cllr gave the example of Rose Hill in Ballinacurra where the bus can stop up for up to half an hour. He said if the driver was sent on to Cloyne that would increase the service to the village at a neutral cost.
It’s not only the sporadic service that can make life tough, as Cllr Mary Linehan Foley questioned how it was possible that a bus fare from Waterford to Cork was half the price of a ticket from Youghal to Cork.
She said a review of fares is needed, as Youghal is dependent on tourism to attract people into the town.
Bus Eireann Operations Manager, Tim O’Leary said he would request his Commercial Department to consider running a promotional fare similar to that being run in Dungarvan.
Mr O’Leary said while all residents in East Cork do not have equal access to public transport, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has the power to bring balance to the network.
He said that since the population has grown – the uptake of the service has not- because of a lack of vital infrastructure.
“People will get out of their car and use public transport if the bus is moving faster than the car but trying to get people out of their car and the bus stuck in traffic, they will tell you that you are nuts.”
The Operations Manager added that without the necessary priority given to buses, the coaches could be stuck at both the Lakeview Roundabout and Midleton Town centre for up to 20 minutes.