Calls For Direct Bus Services
From Ringaskiddy & Passage West To Carrigaline
Writes Leo McMahon
A direct bus service to Carrigaline from Passage West, Monkstown, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy to be considered as a matter of priority was a motion from Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) supported by fellow members of Cork County Council’s Carrigaline-Ballincollig Municipal District at their monthly meeting.
In attendance to deal with this and other queries was Bus Eireann regional manager Mr. Martin Walsh who stated that it was possible to get to and from Carrigaline via Douglas using two buses.
He said he hadn’t noted a huge demand for it but would discuss it with the National Transport Authority (NTA), the body for approval and funding. Cllr McGrath said he did get contacted about it.
In reply to calls also from Cllrs Marcia D’Alton (Ind) and Michael Frick Murphy (SF) for a Passage West to Carrigaline bus service to facilitate access to essential services such as schools and the Intreo (social welfare) office, Mr. Walsh said there wasn’t a huge demand for this.
Cllr D’Alton said the service wouldn’t have to be day long but if it was at a defined time in the day for Passage residents, it would fulfill the vast bulk of demand and not be over onerous on Bus Eireann.
Cllr Murphy said some people who had to go to the social welfare office in Carrigaline couldn’t afford two bus journeys each way via Douglas. It was agreed that the matter be brought to the attention of the NTA.
Mr. Walsh reported that the Carrigmahon service on weekdays was re-introduced following representations from councillors.
He said there was no turning point at Carrigmahon for the 223 bus and the same applied at Rochestown College, so instead a bus in the morning not only served the college but went on to Carrigmahon and back to the city centre at 9am and 3.46pm.
Members welcomed its restoration. Cllr McGrath said there was a need for a return service in the middle of the day. Cllr D’Alton said a lot of elderly residents found the 9am bus too early but a lunchtime bus would be fantastic. Mr. Walsh said Bus Eireann would look at putting in a midday service for a third option.
Cllr Murphy said he was told there was a shortage of buses from 1 to 6.30pm on 223 Cork-Haulbowline service and too much of a gap. Mr. Walsh replied that frequency varied from one hour to every half hour at peak times.
To another query as to why the 7.10am from Monkstown was withdrawn, Mr. Walsh said this was an auxiliary to the 7.25am and was deemed unnecessary.
Overall, said Mr. Walsh, Bus Eireann operated up to 1,200 extra trips per week in the Cork area last year amounting to 770,000 extra passenger trips over 2015. Every bus it had was on the road at peak hours and 80 drivers had been recruited in the last two years.
The company had an open door policy. It consulted extensively with and gets feedback from customers, staff, council officials and councillors, trade unions and its officials attended numerous meetings in the community.
‘In 2016 we got an extra four double deckers and 16 new Mercedes single deckers for the city and this year we’re getting nine new coaches and expect to get more double deckers later in the year.
All of this, he contended, indicated a positive reflection from NTA and an acknowledgement of a growth in service and business.
In reply to Cllr Murphy, Mr. Walsh said all buses in the city and suburban area are wheelchair accessible.