The numbers of Cork commuters choosing to either take public transport or cycle is below the national average, according to the Census figures released by the Central Statistics Office.
Just over 70% of Cork commuters travelled to work by car, compared to 65.6% nationally. While over 9% of working commuters used public transport in April 2016 — a figure that reaches 22% of working commuters in Dublin city and suburbs — only 8% in Cork City and suburbs said they used a bus or train to get to work.
While the number cycling to work in Cork city is above the national average at 3.9%, it drops to 1.5% when the county is considered. It also compares poorly to Dublin city and suburbs where there were 39,149 cyclists — representing 7.5%, of the 524,019 who said they commute to work in the capital.
Peter Horgan, Labour’s local area representative in Cork city’s South East Ward said that while more people are at work, it has also seen more cars on the roads.
“The result is the South Link being jammed with motorists, a road that is already over capacity as admitted by planners,” he said. “Yet we have a park and ride located smack bang in the middle of this road network, underutilised by the City and by Bus Eireann.
“We have thousands of workers working in the hubs of Ringaskiddy, Mahon Point and Ballincollig to name a few area, yet the bus services from a variety of locations to these hubs are sporadic at best.
“Public confidence in Cork of the public transport network is clearly low. We need to regain that confidence again and the only way to do that is through sustained investment.”
The Green Party said the findings showed a need for more investment in dedicated bike infrastructure.
“We’ve come on a lot over the last five years,” Justin Fleming, the party’s representative in the Cork City South Central ward said.
“Segregated cycle lanes from UCC to the city centre along the Western Road and Washington Street. The bike- share stats saw Cork coming out on top. When I started studying five years ago there were plenty of spaces to park your bike in UCC. Now they’re all taken and the fences are full of bikes locked up.”
However, Mr Fleming was critical of a decision by the National Transport Authority in August not to extend the Cork bike share scheme, despite its popularity.
“There isn’t a single station anywhere near CIT or CUH. We know the demand is here, we know the service will be used, we know we’re a success, so let’s expand on that now.”
The Greens are calling for the development of what it described as the ‘cycle super-highway’ from Páirc Uí Chaoimh along the old Blackrock railway line out to Mahon Point and Rochestown.
“As well as maintaining the stretch that is already functioning well, we need to complete the exit currently under construction beside the bus stop at Mahon Point and finish off a high-quality link from the Marina to the city centre,” Mr Fleming said. “Likewise, we need to link the city centre and Ballincollig, through the Lee Fields, by greenway.”