Renewed calls have been made for wheelchair bus stops to be installed in West Cork, as the two that are currently there exist because of local initiatives.
Kinsale’s bus stop was relocated and built appropriately by a local engineer to make it wheelchair accessible, while the stop in Skibbereen was made by transition year students. They raised funds to alter the bus stop because one of their classmates needed access to a bus and could not get it.
Disability campaigners have been calling for accessible routes for years, while the National Transport Authority (NTA) has recommended a phased approach to accessibility with inter-urban services not expected to be fully accessible until 2026. Senator Tim Lombard raised the issue in the Seanad, calling the lack of accessibility “shameful” given that there are some major towns in the area.
“Some people are paying €160 for a round trip to go to CUH from West Cork for doctors’ appointments because there is no access to bus stops,” he said.
Deputy Pat Breen, who was taking questions on behalf of the Minister for Transport Shane Ross, said that the NTA is engaging with Cork County Council on the issue.
“I am advised that Cork County Council awarded the contract to complete works at Carrigtwohill, Midleton, Castlemartyr and Youghal. Works have commenced in Youghal and all works are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020. The NTA hopes to expand this programme to additional locations during 2020 in cooperation with Cork County Council,” he said.
“It is only appropriate that it is extended. Bus Éireann, the NTA and Cork County Council will probably do that in the near future. It all depends on funding, but it is a positive start,” Deputy Breen said.