SOME Cork buses are still running over-capacity, despite improvements to the city’s flagship route, it has been claimed.
In January, Bus Éireann and the National Transport Authority (NTA) launched a 24-hour, increased frequency service for the 220 and 220x.
The route, which serves Ballincollig-City Centre-Carrigaline-Crosshaven, has had a 60% growth in customer journeys, since it began using double-decker buses .
However, Passage West-based councillor Marcia D’Alton said the double-decker 220 is often nearly empty, while other routes, such as the 223 from Passage to the city, are cramped at peak times. “The increased frequency of the 220 and 220x are very welcome,” Ms D’Alton said.
“However, everywhere I go, I see almost empty double-decker 220s. Whilst it is good to see increased frequency and capacity for passengers who need it, what I see on the ground is other services that are over-capacity. I would love to see more single-decker buses on the 220 route and some of the double-decker buses put into other areas, where people are crying out for them.
“Currently, in Passage West, most people are travelling on the bus at peak times standing up, because there isn’t room for them on the buses, yet there are somewhere between eight and 10 people on the 220. Increased frequency on the 220 was absolutely critical, but perhaps is necessary to look at spreading the load,” Ms D’Alton added.
NTA CEO, Anne Graham, said the improvements to the 220 service are only the first in a raft of measures to improve city metropolitan area routes, but warned the funds will have to be found first. “The 220 is only the start of investment in public transport in Cork. There was over €3m invested in that service alone by the NTA. These services don’t come cheaply and there is a cost associated with it and we only covered 50% of the 220 through fares.
“That doesn’t mean that we are going to stop there and we are going to improve the public transport services that are currently there by increasing frequency, but it does come at a cost,” Ms Graham added.