Over €1.2m has been spent on the public consultations for BusConnects Cork, new figures from the National Transport Authority (NTA) show.
BusConnects Cork is the NTA’s plan to improve bus services throughout the city and suburbs.
It comprises nine measures, chief among them a new design for the Cork Metropolitan bus network - the final plan for which was launched last June following public consultation – and proposals to deliver new bus corridors and cycle lanes.
This proposal, to develop 11 sustainable transport corridors (STCs), is currently at public consultation stage.
The current round of public consultation centres on the preferred routes and follows an initial public consultation last year.
Figures obtained by the Labour Party show that from 2021 to April 2023, €1,244,034 has been spent on BusConnects Cork public consultations.
The party had requested a breakdown of costs incurred to date, by vendor and staff costs.
Among the most substantial costs include €360,198 to an advertising services company headquartered in Dublin; €139,166 to a promotional and event management company with an address in Meath and €124,638 to a PR agency based in Dublin.
Other costs included €160,173 to a separate advertising services company also headquartered in Dublin; €107,002 to a leaflet distribution and flyer delivery services company and €100,088 to a Dublin headquartered print logistics company.
The NTA said that not all personnel costs were captured in the figures.
Speaking after the party received the figures, Labour local rep for the city’s South East ward, Peter Horgan, said he believes public consultation on the STC proposals needs to be extended until traffic data is published.
“Extending the consultation period wouldn’t have a material cost to them at this point,” Mr Horgan said.
“We do need to see the traffic data. Without the traffic data and traffic modelling, it’s impossible to make a judgment call on what the impact would be for a corridor and the circulating area around the corridor.” Mr Horgan said people need to be aware of the potential “knock-on impacts” restrictions to general traffic because of bus gates and other proposed measures could have on traffic in other areas.
“The city council has passed a resolution calling for a third round of consultation, which I’m in favour of.
“Or what they could do is finish this round but when traffic data is ready and published, allow people who have made submissions to make a re-submission on foot of the traffic data.
“I’m in favour, generally, of BusConnects.
“We do need more people using public transport, but we need people to have the full facts in front of them and know what impacts it’s going to have.”
Consultation on the revised STC proposals closes on Thursday, May 25.