Explainer: All the changes to Cork's bus network

There is no route left unchanged by the National Transport Authority’s new design for Cork’s Metropolitan Bus Network
Explainer: All the changes to Cork's bus network

A bus on the 202A route, Cork. New routes will be phased in during 2023 and 2024. Picture: Larry Cummins

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has launched its plans to “transform the public transport network” in Cork City, which include a second 24 hour bus service, and new routes to previously unserved areas.

There is no route left unchanged by the NTA’s new design for Cork’s Metropolitan Bus Network, which was announced on Monday and will bring an overall increase of 53% in bus services in Cork.

The announcement comes as part of BusConnects Cork, a €600m investment by the NTA in Cork’s bus network.

Cork’s only 24-hour bus route, which 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, and Route 3A will run north-south through the city from Carrigaline to Hollyhill.

Route 1 follows the path of the proposed Cork Luas Line, and it is intended that the interim bus route will encourage housing and business development along the route, to prepare for eventual installation of the Luas.

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 largest employment areas that will gain access to more workers are Little Island, Hollyhill, Mahon Point, the airport, Blackpool, and Cork city centre.

Under the new plans, there will be seven all-day, high-frequency bus routes, with buses every 15 minutes or better during peak periods.


More routes will provide high frequency timetables all week long, with some routes timetabled to “pulse” together with arrivals and departures at Kent Station, to make commuting easier.

The NTA promises that the new network will provide shorter waits, more direct routes, and a simpler network and schedules.

The new bus network will enable more people to avail of public transport, as the number of people within 400m of a high-frequency bus route (running every 15 minutes or better) will increase by 39%, and the number of jobs located within 400m 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 informed the final New Bus Network published yesterday.

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 available on the BusConnects website to view and download at busconnects.ie.

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