Cancer patient pleads for bus ‘lifeline’ to continue

A CANCER patient begged Bus Éireann last night not to axe her “lifeline” bus route.

The woman, who is being treated for breast cancer and who asked not to be named, uses the under-threat number 1 orbital bus service several times a week to get from her home on Cork’s northside to Cork University Hospital (CUH) in Wilton for treatment.

But the service is one of two northside city routes facing the axe as part of Bus Éireann cost-cutting proposals designed to plug a €20 million hole in its finances.

It is set to become a major local election issue in Cork.

Up to 150 buses will have to be taken out of the company’s fleet nationally – 30 in Cork alone which would affect up to 30 bus drivers.

Talks with unions are ongoing.

The company has proposed the cancellation of the number 12 service which runs through Blackpool, Dublin Hill, The Glen and Dillon’s Cross, and the number one orbital route which links Mayfield, Ballyvolane, Blackpool, Churchfield and Farranree with the southside, including CUH, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), and the Fás training centre.

It comes at a time when the company is offering a reduced €1 fare on the southside orbital route.

The woman pleaded with Bus Éireann managers last night to save the number one service.

“This bus is essential for me. It’s my lifeline. It’s reliable, easy to get, and gets me to CUH fast without any stress which is essential when you have regular hospital appointments and treatments,” she said.

Axing the route would have a devastating effect on her, and other people she knows who also have to attend CUH regularly, she said.

In the absence of the bus, she would have to take two buses, or a taxi, which could cost up to €100 a week.

Bus users from across the city’s northside will stage two protests today in a bid to save the routes.

One will be held at 9.15am at the Dublin Hill entrance to Glenthorn Estate. The second will be held at 1pm outside St Brendan’s Church in the Glen.

Both protests are being organised by Socialist Party Cllr Mick Barry.

“The decision to axe the number 12 bus is an act of vandalism,” he said.

“Many elderly people in Dublin Hill rely on it. No other bus service goes through the Glen. Once again, we see cutbacks striking at vulnerable people.”

Another protest will take place at Tinker’s Cross, Mayfield at 2.30pm tomorrow against the axing of the number one route, and over plans to reduce night-time frequency on the number eight route.

Today’s protests come ahead of an afternoon meeting between senior Bus Éireann management in Cork and local politicians to discuss the issue.

Deputy Lord Mayor, Fine Gael’s Cllr Patricia Gosch, said there is widespread dismay across the northside at the proposed cuts.

“This is bigger than politics and is a very serious for the people concerned, especially the elderly,” she said.

“I am appealing to Bus Éireann to reconsider this at it would be the death knell for public transport in The Glen.”

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