The level of bus services in Cork will increase by over a third with shorter waits and more direct routes for commuters within the city under new proposals unveiled today.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has today published its draft new bus network for Cork.
The redesign of the bus network is one of the nine key elements of BusConnects Cork that aims to transform the city’s bus system, making public transport more useful to more people.
Under the proposals contained in the report, the level of bus services in Cork will increase by 36% and 34% more people will live close to a frequent service.
The proposals will also result in more residents of the city and areas within the Cork Metropolitan Area having access to the public transport network with Little Island, Cobh, Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy, Glanmire, Ballincollig and Blarney among those areas with new routes.
The redesigned bus network is set to provide a more coherently planned, higher capacity, more understandable network for those within the Cork Metropolitan Area while paving the way for the future introduction of Luas within the city.
Services will be organised around high-frequency routes within the city centre with route branches extending out to other areas of the city.
Additional weekend services will also be provided.
The NTA has said fares will be simplified in a way that will make “interchange seamless” in that customers will not have to pay extra to change between bus, rail or future Luas services within that 90-minute period.
The new network report being unveiled today has been prepared by Jarrett Walker & Associates, a US-based firm that specialises in designing metropolitan public transport systems, in collaboration with Bus Éireann, Cork City Council and Cork County Council.
It follows on from the publication of the Choices Report in July which set out the transport choices that could be used to structure the redesign of the bus network in Cork and the follow-on public consultation.
Close to 1,200 responses were received as part of the first round of consultation.
Public Consultation on the Draft New Bus Network for Cork is now live. The proposals include a 36% increase in Bus Services, more direct routes and additional services at weekends. Review the proposals and have your say here: https://t.co/qbyNLFpi7c pic.twitter.com/7QxehoSboe— BusConnects (@BusConnects) November 2, 2021
Consultation on the draft new bus network launched today will run for six weeks.
The redesign will be finalised in the first quarter of 2022 with the new network being rolled out from 2023.
Commenting on the proposals Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said today marks a “milestone” for the BusConnects project, which he said will make Cork a “cleaner, greener and more liveable city”.
“Delivering this project will mean that Cork will have a more efficient and frequent service that people can really rely on to cater for their transport needs,” Mr Ryan continued.
Anne Graham, CEO of the NTA said through significant investment over recent years the NTA has seen a 50% growth in public transport usage from 2013 to 2019.
She said the proposed new network will bring “vital improvements” to how the bus system is organised.
“It will see a significant increase in bus services within the Cork Metropolitan Area as well as creating new connections to schools, jobs and public services.
“We’re confident this new network along with the other changes being introduced through BusConnects Cork will make travelling on public transport a convenient and sustainable option for more people across the city,” she said.
Ms Graham said the NTA would like to hear people’s thoughts on the new network that has been proposed.
“By taking part in the online consultation process, we can ensure the final network design can support the increase in the number of people using public transport in Cork.”
Stephen Kent, CEO of the Bus Éireann, said that thinking ‘bus’ instead of ‘car’ “positively impacts on quality of life for everyone in Cork”.
He said that Bus Éireann’s experience is that increased frequency of services in Cork “quickly results in much greater passenger numbers”.
“We look forward to working with the NTA to facilitate and deliver this new future for public transport in Cork over the next two years,” he added.
Michelle Poyourow, Jarrett Walker & Associates said the first round of consultation has “helped to shape the draft network being presented in today’s report”.
“By simplifying the network and schedules and ensuring shorter waits and more direct routes, we can connect more people across the Cork Metropolitan Area,” he added.
To take part in the consultation process, visit busconnects.ie/busconnects-cork/