CITY HALL is to consider opening the Black Ash Park & Ride from 6.30am and increase frequency after usage increased significantly in 2018.
Councillor Thomas Gould (SF) has called for the new service hours following an increase in the number of bus users in Cork city.
The Black Ash service currently begins operating at 7am each morning from Monday to Saturday and runs every 10 minutes at peak times and 15 minutes off peak.
Mr Gould said a recent report from Bus Eireann - showing city services grew in 2018 by 13.2% along with Galway, Limerick and Waterford - indicates that people are willing to leave their cars behind when travelling to the city if bus services are available.
“A recent report on the increase of people using buses in the city shows there is a need for this,” said Mr Gould.
“From the dealings I have with people more and more are using the Black Ash service. Maybe it should go earlier and have more frequency. We also need additional park & rides and one each for the northside, east and west.
Mick Nugent (SF) said the time has come to consider park & rides from the west, east and north of the city.
The Black Ash Park & Ride currently serves the city centre from the Kinsale Road and visits Eglinton Street at City Hall, Merchant’s Quay, Patrick Street, Grand Parade, South Mall and Anglesea Street.
Mr Nugent said it is vital that the northside eventually be linked to the city centre via a Park and Ride.
“The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) is going to public consultation. Hopefully, we put park & rides into that. It complements the City Centre Movement Strategy. Park & rides will become more important in the years to come.”
CMATS was due to be published in December but will now be the subject of a public consultation period in the first quarter of this year.
City Hall director of roads and transportation Gerry O’Beirne said public usage of the Black Ash Park & Ride improved significantly in 2018.
He added the National Transport Authority has have given the indication that they would be prepared to look at frequency and service times.
He told councillors that the Council has learned over the years that Park & Ride buses need proper bus networks to support them.
“As the bus networks improve in the city, Park & Rides will be implemented along with them,” he added.