Villagers angry as routes axed

People living in two villages in South Cork are to gather a petition against the axing of their bus service, which has left many students and pensioners stranded.

Villagers angry as routes axed

There has been widespread anger after the National Transport Authority (NTA), which licenses Bus Éireann routes, told the company to discontinue its twice weekly services to Ballinspittle and Garretstown, which enabled locals to be brought directly onto Kinsale and Cork City.

The NTA said this was done to increase services from Kinsale to Cork Airport and Cork City.

People living in the villages are now forced to pay at least €15 each way for a taxi to connect them with the Kinsale bus service.

“What good is a bus pass to us now,” said Jim Fitzgerald, 79, who lives four miles from Ballinspittle.

“I never thought it would come to this. I go to the doctor in Kinsale to get tablets and now I have to get a taxi because I can’t drive or ride a bicycle,” he said.

Mary Hennessy said people living in the affected areas now felt “completely isolated”.

“Pensioners simply can’t afford to pay €30 for a round-trip taxi service to Kinsale to get a bus connection to Cork.

“I used to go nearly every week to Cork for shopping. The bus used to arrive there at 11.30am and leave at 1.15pm. It didn’t give you a lot of time but at least we had it,” Mary said.

JJ Hegarty, who owns the Centra supermarket in Ballinspittle, is one of the driving forces behind the petition which will be handed to the NTA.

“We’re already after losing our garda barracks in the village and we don’t know what will be next.

“It’s also affecting students and people from Cork who used to regularly get the buses down to holiday homes in Garretstown,” he said.

Cork County Council debated the issue on Monday and decided to send a letter to the NTA requesting it to reverse the decision.

Cllr Alan Coleman, the council’s transport sub-committee chairman, said locals were told the service was being axed by the bus driver.

“This has discommoded a lot of people of all ages, but particularly older people. It’s unacceptable and it’s another example of rural areas having services axed,” he said.

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