BusConnects plan a 'gamechanger' for Cork says economist

The plans include approximately 93 km of bus lane/ bus priority and 112 km of cycle facilities across the city.
BusConnects plan a 'gamechanger' for Cork says economist

BusConnects Cork is the National Transport Authority's (NTA) plan for the delivery of a sustainable public transport network for the Cork Metropolitan Area.

A gamechanger to improve the lives of many is how UCC economist Frank Crowley has described the BusConnects project for Cork.

BusConnects Cork is the National Transport Authority's (NTA) plan for the delivery of a sustainable public transport network for the Cork Metropolitan Area.

The plans include approximately 93 km of bus lane/ bus priority and 112 km of cycle facilities across the city.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Crowley said it was an “absolute gamechanger for Cork".

“It is badly needed after decades of under investment in public transport in the Cork area.” Mr Crowley said he had no concerns about the plans and thought the project would be to the benefit of Cork and Cork communities.

“The Cork city region is on a significantly unsustainable path suffering from severe urban sprawl, poor land use, road congestion, and extremely high car dependency. Such conditions impact our pockets, our health, our ability to attract talent and it will impact our long-term sustainability as a community. “We must pivot to a more sustainable development path.

Frank Crowley at Local Governance in Cork: Through the Economic GeographerLens CLRG Annual Public Lecture Series. Pic: Aodh Quinlivan
Frank Crowley at Local Governance in Cork: Through the Economic GeographerLens CLRG Annual Public Lecture Series. Pic: Aodh Quinlivan

“Public transport improvements are extremely important in driving more compact and sustainable development. It provides greater social inclusion and provides greater access to opportunities for everyone. Ireland has committed to a 50% reduction in transport emissions by 2030 and BusConnects is a large piece of the jigsaw to make that happen.

LEADERSHIP

Responding to pessimistic comments from local councillors Mr Crowley said now was the time for mature, responsible leadership.

“We need local councillors to work with the NTA to make this happen. Yes, there will be teething problems, but we must find reasonable solutions and quickly. The events of the recent past like the [Patrick Street private car ban] and Wilton transport saga reflected poorly on local government in Cork in my opinion. We must grasp this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the lives of everyone in the city.” 

The UCC economist lecturer outlined the need for the scheme.

“Cork is set out in Ireland 2040 to be the fastest growing city in Ireland over the next two decades. We are already suffering from economic growth pains. We have a housing crisis, a rental crisis, a congestion crisis, and we are in the middle of a global climate emergency. If Cork is to prosper, grow and accommodate significant population increases, then we must radically improve public transport in the city and radical changes are needed.

“We have too many cars, too much parking and too much congestion. Buses need dedicated bus lanes. There is no point in having buses stuck in private car traffic as it becomes inefficient, and people simply will not use it. 

"There are significant cycling and walking infrastructure changes proposed and again these are desperately needed to improve active travel in the city. We have been underinvesting in this type of travel for far too long.” In relation to the opposition, Mr Crowley simple said people don’t like change.

“Often local politicians listen to the few, rather than considering the many and the big picture. This is a time to focus on the big picture.” The UCC lecturer said the NTA was doing a good job to reach out about their plans, communicate and listen to the community.

“They are holding public information events and have extended the public consultation until October. The BusConnects plan has been long mooted, it can’t be a surprise to people who are willing to engage.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more