A LIGHT rail system for Cork city is “unrealistic” and a rapid bus service would be more cost-effective, according to Cork Business Association chief executive Lawrence Owens.
Calls for a Luas-type system in Cork have been growing in recent months with former County Mayor Derry Canty and Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire both raising the issue.
Transport Minister Shane Ross has described the concept as “desirable” for Cork and last month Cork Chamber chief executive Conor Healy said the time was right to start planning for new transport modes.
However, Mr Owens said improvements in existing services would yield results in tackling traffic congestion and would come at a much lower cost.
“I would be delighted to see a light rail system and it would revolutionise the whole infrastructure model in Cork,” he said. “But, are we being realistic? Is it practical?
“We need to make serious improvements to what we currently have which would be cheaper than a light rail system and it’s far less technical in terms of an infrastructure change,” he added.
A light rail system was included as part of a vision for an integrated transport system in the Cork Area Strategic Plan published in 2008.
“It’s now 2018 and nothing has been done about it. I’d love a light-rail system but I won’t see one in my lifetime,” he said. “We have to be realistic in terms of what we can do now with the current infrastructure and the resources that we have. The bus rapid service is quite doable and much more cost-effective.
“Let’s be realistic instead of throwing out soundbites that are never going to be delivered on,” he added.