Transport Minister Shane Ross has revealed planned improvements to two of the busiest commuter routes in the county, saying the number of buses serving the routes will increase from three to five per hour — a 66% increase in frequency.
Services on the Ballincollig route, in particular, are often at capacity, with regular complaints from bus users about the need for more efficiency on the route.
Ballincollig and Carrigaline have experienced phenomenal growth over the last two decades to become the largest satellite towns in Cork, with a population of 18,621 in Ballincollig and 15,770 in Carrigaline at the last census.
Mr Ross said the bus improvements are among a number of changes being implemented by Bus Éireann and the National Transport Authority (NTA), which are in the final stages.
He said the organisations were hoping to deliver a wide range of significant service enhancements on the Ballincollig-City Centre-Carrigaline corridor in Cork city and surrounding environment.
The Minister said: “These changes will see significant increases in service frequency and hours of operation across a number of routes including Route 220 and Route 220X which operates from Ballincollig - City Centre - Carrigaline.
“These changes will be supplemented by the deployment of additional double deck buses along the route to further increase service capacity.”
However, Cork TD Aindrias Moynihan who raised the issue with Minister Ross said Cork commuters were fed up waiting for the new timetable.
"Many months later and there is neither sight not sound of the updated bus timetable for this route. Students in both secondary and third level are now back for the new academic year, and changes in the timetable will affect how they commute into the city," he said.
“As Winter gets closer, commuters want clarity on where and when their bus to the city centre will depart from. No one wants to be left in the dark and cold waiting; approving this new timetable will make it clearer for everyone.
“I cannot for the life of me understand why it has taken so long for the National Transport Authority to approve the new bus timetable. The Minister has washed his hands of the issue, and I am calling for clarity for commuters from the NTA to allow Bus Éireann deliver this revised service,” concluded Moynihan.
Mr Ross also said that as well as the changes to the 220 route, a new range of local services will also be introduced that will ensure that Passage/Monkstown are linked to Carrigaline and Passage/Monkstown and Fountainstown are linked directly to the Carrigaline Primary Care Centre.
“Carrigaline will be linked to both Ringaskiddy and Cork Airport for the first time. I am advised that the timetables for these local services are currently being finalised with the NTA,” Mr Ross said.
“Finally, Regarding Route 223 (Cork - Monkstown - Ringaskiddy - Haulbowline) I am advised that this route will be fully reviewed once the significant changes in relation to the other routes are implemented."