REDUCED luggage capacity on new low-floor buses introduced on a busy Bus Éireann route, has provoked an angry response from residents and businesses in a popular Cork tourist town.
New buses on the 226 route connecting Kent Station in Cork to Kinsale via Cork Airport cannot accommodate bicycles and do not have underfloor storage capacity, as had been the case on the older coaches previously used on the route.
Local business owner Jill Brennen said she became aware of the situation when a friend on a cycling holiday had to wait several hours for a bus that could bring her bicycle to Cork, where she was due to catch a train to Dublin.
“She had booked the 9.30am train from Cork to Dublin and was due to catch the bus at 8am from Kinsale but she was still waiting at 11 o’clock,” Ms Brennen told The Echo.
Ms Brennen said her friend missed her train and was forced to buy another ticket.
A spokesperson for Bus Éireann said that the new buses were provided by the National Transport Authority (NTA), which is responsible for purchasing the vehicles to be operated, setting timetables, fares, and so on.
“Bus Éireann introduced new low-floor buses, provided by the NTA, on this route in early 2021, replacing single deck coaches which had steps,” the spokesperson said.
“These vehicles did not easily facilitate use by people who use wheelchairs. Lifts had to be installed, wheelchair users had to pre-book a space at least 24 hours in advance of travel to allow four seats to be removed, and the loading and unloading of a passenger could take 10 or 15 minutes.
Local Green Party representative Marc Ó Riain said the buses being used on the route were clearly not suitable.
“We should be encouraging the use of bicycles, not making it more difficult,” he said.