THERE are plans to link two busy bus routes to Glanmire and Grange and link them with Cork Airport, Transport Minister Shane Ross has confirmed.
The Minister said the National Transport Authority (NTA) has plans to merge the 221 city bus route from Glanmire to the 206, which serves Grange and Douglas and extend the service to Cork Airport.
Minister Ross said the merging of the two routes is planned for this year and will provide for improved frequency to Glanmire via Kent Station.
The 221 currently stops at Parnell Place, Lower Glanmire Road, Hazelwood, Glyntown Road and Knockraha, while the 206 takes in Grange, Douglas, Evergreen Road and Infirmary Road before terminating at South Mall.
The changes are set to be introduced along with improved services on the Ballincollig-Carrigaline corridor including routes 216, 220, 220x and 223 and frequency improvements on routes 202, 207a, and 208, according to the Minister.
The Minister was responding to a query from Cork TD Michael McGrath who raised the issue of the quality of bus services in Carrigaline.
“I and others have been inundated with complaints about the quality of the bus service,” said Mr McGrath.
“In particular, we have received complaints about the reliability of the service and ongoing capacity issues as well. It appears that these routes are seriously under-resourced. They are popular, successful and profitable routes and there are people who want to use public transport.
“The types of issues that occur consistently, unfortunately, relate to buses running very late, buses being full or in some cases buses not turning up at all. We are talking about people who rely on a bus service to go to college, school, work, a hospital appointment or to go about their day-to-day lives. It is just not good enough,” he added.
Mr McGrath said he has repeatedly raised the problems with Bus Éireann but has been told they are due to traffic congestion in the city.
Minister Ross said he is aware Bus Éireann has been experiencing some operational issues in the Cork area recently which has led to late arrival or non-arrival of buses.
He said the situation is unacceptable and Bus éireann must take action. He added he would not wash his hands of the matter.
“This apparent degradation of services for the customer is not acceptable and it is a matter for the company to resolve the issues promptly," he said.
“I understand the NTA wrote to Bus Éireann last week asking that the company revert to the authority as a matter of urgency with the steps being taken by it to resolve the underlying issues and mitigate the effects of them in the short term until permanent solutions are put in place.
“I assure the Deputy the NTA is continuing to monitor developments closely and has reminded Bus Éireann of its performance obligations under its contract. I look forward to this issue being resolved as soon as possible,” he added.