Writes Ciaran Dineen
There was some anger and frustration at the Carrigaline LEA Municipal District Meeting (MD) on Monday morning last as several Councillors raised questions over the delay to the implementation of the 225 bus route.
It was announced earlier in the year that a transport link connecting Ringaskiddy with Carrigaline and Cork Airport, via Ballygarvan would launch, with several start dates being released to local Councillors and the public. Bus routes throughout the Carrigdhoun area have been a huge topic of conversation over the last two years. After constant lobbying for an improved service on the 220 and 220x service, reform eventually materialised at the start of 2019, and now the 220 runs on one of the highest frequencies in the country.
For some time now there have been calls for a route that would link Passage with Carrigaline and that a connection with Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy could also be facilitated. Although it was thought that such a connection would come under one umbrella, it was announced that in fact two separate services would be created, while as a temporary measure for residents in Passage West, the 216 bus serving Mount Oval – Cork University Hospital, is to be extended to Passage to improve frequency.
Councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) in his first motion at the first MD meeting since the Summer recess said that it was “simply not good enough” for the people of Ballygarvan that there have been constant delays to the commencement of the 225 service. He also called for Bus Éireann to send a representative to the Council Chambers in order to explain in detail the cause of delays, amongst other things.
Backing up his fellow rural-based colleague in County Hall was Councillor Aidan Lombard (FG). Cllr Lombard supported the motion raised, going on to say that Bus Éireann (BE) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) need to be more accountable. “There have been 6 or 7 different dates for this bus and all we get back from BE is that “it’s been put off”. But why has it been put off? It’s not good enough just to say that. It was the same in the Kinsale District, they don’t listen to the engineers or anyone. Who are they actually accountable to? I think the whole thing is laughable and disgraceful.”
Councillor Marcia Dalton (Ind) and Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) likewise showed their support for Cllr Dalton O’Sullivan and acknowledged that there has been a long and often difficult relationship over matters of public transport. Cllr McGrath argued that BE are not ultimately responsible for decisions such as this and it is more the role of the NTA. He went on to repeat the sentiments of other colleagues that bringing someone in from the NTA or BE may be advantageous (if not the answer), to help seek clarity on the situation.
In response was Madeline Healy from Cork County Council. She said that BE have been in contact with the Carrigaline office since July. However, the Council were concerned for a number of reasons relating to safety concerns along the route, particularly around Ballygarvan and Fivemilebridge, where the bus would then head to the Airport. They were also wary of the bus travelling to Carrigaline via the Coolmore Road and as a result discussions have been ongoing to find better alternatives. Councillors hope to receive more information at the next MD meeting in October.
New Bus Route Postponed
Writes Nicola Depuis
Back in July, news came in that the bus service to the Passage West/Monkstown area was to be improved with the addition of another bus service – the 216. This would operate from Cork University Hospital to Monkstown serving the city centre, Mount Oval, Rochestown Road and Passage West along the way adding two additional double-decker services per hour and a direct bus to CUH.
Although initially advised by the National Transport Authority (NTA) that this service would be in place by September, Bus Eireann recently disclosed that although the necessary staff have been recruited and the additional buses are in place they’re still waiting on a timetable and definitive implementation date.
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