The NTA has today launched its plans to “transform the public transport network” in Cork city, which include a second 24 hour bus route from Carrigaline to Hollyhill, and new bus routes to previously unserved areas.
The National Transport Authority’s (NTA) new design for Cork’s Metropolitan Bus Network was announced on Monday, and involves the creation of new bus routes and improved bus frequencies to “help transform the public transport network to meet anticipated growth and future demand in the region”.
Part of BusConnects Cork, the NTA's plan to improve Bus Services throughout the city and suburbs, the new network will bring an overall increase of 53% in bus services in Cork.
Cork’s only 24 hour bus route, which currently runs between Ovens/Ballingcollig and Carrigaline, will be adapted to two separate 24 hour bus routes crossing the city.
Route 1 will run east-west, from Ovens/Ballincollig through the city centre to Mahon (along the proposed route for a future Luas line), and Route 3A will run north-south through the city from Carrigaline to Hollyhill.
Under the new plans there will be seven all-day high frequency bus routes, with buses every 15 minutes or better during peak periods.
Areas that have until now not been served by a bus route are set to be connected to the bus network under the new plan. Little Island, Cobh, Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy, Upper Glanmire, Ballincollig, Kerry Pike, Carrigtwohill and Blarney are among the areas with new routes providing new coverage.
The NTA promises that the new network will provide shorter waits, more direct routes, a simpler network and schedules, and additional services at weekends.
The new bus network will enable more people to avail of public transport, as the number of people within 400 metres of a high frequency bus route (running every 15 minutes or better) will increase by 39% and the number of jobs located within 400 meres of a high frequency bus route will increase by 19%.
During 2021, the NTA carried out an extensive process of public consultation and review, in collaboration with Cork City Council and Bus Éireann, and with the specialised expertise of transport designers Jarrett Walker and Associates.
In November 2021, a draft new network was published and the feedback and submissions have informed the Final New Bus Network published today.
Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said that Cork’s new bus network is an “important milestone” in the government’s ambition to “enable greater numbers of people to avail of the public bus network in the region”.
“This will help to transform the existing bus network in the Cork Metropolitan Area into a more, efficient, sustainable one to meet current and future needs in the area. The expansion of the system into the night hours will also greatly benefit Cork’s Night Time Economy,” he said.
Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer of NTA said that the revised bus network puts Cork “firmly on track” to meeting the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy ambition of increasing the number of people using public transport in Cork fourfold by 2040.
“This revised network which includes enhanced frequency, new routes, and longer operating hours, means that by offering greater connectivity, bus services in Cork are set to become more useful to more people,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of Bus Éireann, Stephen Kent, said the new network will support Cork’s growth and development over future decades, as Bus Éireann already carries 14 million passengers in Cork city every year.
“This network will support Cork’s development and growth over future decades, as well as promoting the necessary shift to public transport to meet Ireland’s climate change commitments,” he said.
“We have seen investment in Cork routes deliver passenger growth of 70% within just a year, so we know that improving the reliability of our services by facilitating bus prioritisation will result in greater use, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits,” he added.
The New Cork Bus Network will be delivered on a phased approach during 2023 and 2024.
The full report and local area maps, frequency tables and an interactive mapper tool are all now available on the BusConnects website to view and download (https://busconnects.ie/cork/)