BUS fares for thousands of Cork passengers will fall significantly tomorrow as Ballincollig, Carrigaline, Passage West and Cork Airport are brought into the city fare zone.
From December 1, the decision has been taken to abolish the current Green Zone that takes in the outer suburban areas including Blarney, Tower, Glounthuane, Carrigtowhill and Crosshaven.
The Red Zone which covers the inner city will instead be expanded to cover all these areas.
Fares for the Red Zone will increase slightly but for thousands of passengers who travel to and from Cork by bus each day, it will mean major reductions in fares.
The changes encourage passengers to use the Leap Card system instead of cash to receive the full benefit of the fare cuts.
Fares for passengers using Leap Cards will fall by between 27 and 30%.
Passengers getting the bus from Carrigaline to Cork this morning paid €4.40 in cash. With Carrigaline now in the Red Zone, the fare will drop to €2.70 from tomorrow morning. For passengers using a Leap Card, the reduction is even greater, falling from €3.52 to €1.89.
An adult monthly ticket for Ballincollig currently costs €104 but with the town now in the Red Zone the fare will instead cost €84.
The decision was taken to expand the Red Zone by the National Transport Authority. They said the current Red Zone did not accommodate the areas where regular city type commuting was taking place.
Business parks, retail parks, housing estates or large stand-alone job attractors were identified and the boundary was altered to include these identified areas.
Cork North West TD, Aindrias Moynihan, said 4,000 people commute each day between the town and Cork and said those passengers would see major savings from the changes.
“I would advise people who aren’t currently using Leap cards to really consider making the switch. Those who make use of Leap cards will see major reductions in their weekly commuter cost," he said.
“As we see reductions in fares, and hopefully a greater take up of public bus services, Bus Éireann need to invest in increased capacity and frequency to ensure that would be commuters have confidence in the service,” Mr Moynihan added.