A COMMERCIAL bus operator has raised concerns about the impact of Cork City Council plans to move bus bays from along Patrick’s Quay to separate parts of the city.
West Cork Connects director Damien Long said it is “crazy” and “makes no sense” to split up the 14 bus bays, currently home to Air Coach, Cobh Connects, West Cork Connects and Go Bus.
The plans will see West Cork Connects move to Anderson Quay, Aircoach to Lower Glanmire Street while Cobh Connects is to remain at a single bus bay to be kept along Patrick’s Quay.
The bus operator director said this will have a serious impact on the connectivity of the bus service.
“All the West Cork buses arrive at ten to the hour and the Aircoach leaves on the hour, the whole system is designed to be efficient, practical, easy and convenient,” he said. “People aren’t going to take the bus if they are going to be stressed about making the next bus or worried about getting wet while making their way to the next bus stop. It’s destroying the network.”
West Cork Connects has invested millions in the business since getting their licence in 2019 and have been operating since 2020. Mr Long said his business, which has services to and from Bantry and Skibbereen, was due to start up another service to and from Kinsale, but it will not be viable if these changes go ahead.
The Council plans to put in a cycle lane along Patrick’s Quay, as well as removing the parking on the right side of the street and keeping just one of the 14 bus bays.
In response to a query from The Echo Cork City Council said: "As part of the wider Mac Curtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme, a number of bus operators will be moving to new locations in the city centre at the end of this month (week commencing May 23).
"A public information scheme, including temporary signage, is being rolled out in the coming weeks so that intending passengers are fully aware of the new locations."
The council said there were a number of benefits to the new scheme.
“One of several benefits of the Mac Curtain Street scheme is that it will deliver shorter bus journey times for all bus passengers in Cork city due to an increased network of dedicated bus lanes.
“Secondly, for the first time, it will provide bus shelters in the city for private bus and coach operators and safe setdown areas for people dropping off and picking up passengers — facilities which have been sought by their passengers.
“Also, bus passengers should note that all of the new locations are less than five minutes from Patrick’s Quay and their connections. Clear maps will be displayed on St Patrick’s Quay.”
"The Mac Curtain Street Public Transport Improvement Scheme aims to support economic activity and improve access to the city centre through significantly improved options for walking, cycling and public transport.
Information on the Scheme and updates are available on www.transportforcorkcity.ie . "