A CORK City councillor has said it is “extremely important” that an overhaul of Cork City bus routes would be done right.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) yesterday announced that specialist teams have been appointed to design core bus corridors that will support the efficient running of the bus services in the city.
In addition, the NTA also stated that they are in the process of appointing transport specialist Jarrett Walker & Associates to carry out a review of current bus services and design an improved bus service network in the city.
The appointments are part of the BusConnects Cork Programme which is a key element in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy. A dozen core bus corridors and one orbital bus route in Cork City are to be designed.
Speaking to The Echo, Green Party councillor Oliver Moran said it is imperative that the corridors are designed effectively.
“The core bus corridors will be a network of continuous bus routes criss-crossing the city,” he said. “It’s extremely important we get this right. It will be one of the defining features of our city for decades to come.
“It’s likely these routes will also form the basis of the Cork Luas route.
“Maybe some will be used for a Rapid Bus Transit system too. That’s a midpoint between a normal bus network and a light-rail system.”
Cork has been split into four work packages for the appointed companies — WSP, Arup, Barry Transportation, and AECOM — to develop “concept engineering designs” for the 12 bus corridors and the major orbital route.
Once work has been sufficiently developed in assessing these routes, there will be extensive public consultation where the public will have the opportunity to have their say on the proposals.
It is anticipated that the consultation process will begin in the second half of 2021.
“Like in Dublin, these consultations can prove controversial," said Mr Moran.
“It will involve giving up road space used now for on-street parking to being used for public transport.”
He said that people will need to see “the whole picture” and not “piecemeal plans”.
“I hope this mapping out of routes will give that,” said Mr Moran. “Equally, building the routes cannot be piecemeal when that time comes.
“People have to see and feel the benefits of what they are being asked to give up.”
Meanwhile, Independent Cork city councillor Ken O’Flynn gave a “cautious welcome” of the NTA’s announcement.
“While I acknowledge that an overhaul is needed, in particular in those areas of the new city that have not been serviced such as upper Glanmire and Kilcully, I will be keeping an eye on this”, he said, adding that he believes a “number of mistakes” were made in Dublin.