Bus fares to Cork city from Ballincollig, Blarney, Cork Airport, Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy will be slashed by up to 46% after the city fare zone was extended by the National Transport Authority (NTA) - but customers paying with cash in the city centre will be hit with a 10c increase.
From December 1, commuters from Carrigaline will pay €1.89 with a Leap card or €2.70 in cash. Previously the fare had cost €3.52 with Leap Card and €4.40 in cash.
These areas were previously served by Bus Éireann stage carriage services with stage carriage fares applying from these areas. Now that they are included in the new city zones, city fares will apply if travelling from these areas to the city.`
Some Cork commuter rail fares will also be reduced by 25% but routes between Fota and Midleton and Carrigloe to Midleton will be increased by 35%.
Councillor Seamus McGrath said the fare reductions were good news for people in county towns but warned that extra resources need to be put in place to improve reliability.
“I welcome the reduction in fares and it's a way to continue to promote public transport but we do seriously need to look at the bus service that is going to Crosshaven and Carrigaline in terms of reliability,” he said.
“There have been numerous examples in recent months of buses not turning up on time and buses being an hour late, leaving people stranded.That isn't good enough.
“Hopefully now that the NTA has included the route as a city journey, there would be extra resources put in place,” he added.
Leap card prices will be reduced by 18% overall, but current city adult cash fares will increase by €0.10 each to €2.30 and €2.70. Leap fares will be €1.61 and €1.89.
A statement from the NTA said: “Following an analysis of the hinterland of each of the current red zones in the regional cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway based on the population density and job density, an extended city fare zone will be in place from December 2017 onwards.
“When the city fare zone is expanded to satellite towns around these cities an extra three million passenger journeys each year will be able to avail of the lower city fares with most of these additional passengers within the Cork city area.”
Currently, about 20 million passengers travel on Bus Eireann city routes each year with the majority of those in Cork - 12.7 million.
Cork city Green Zone Leap tickets will be withdrawn from December 1.