Investment needed to speed up journey times, says Bus Éireann manager

Significant Government investment is needed in Cork to build more dedicated bus lanes to speed up journey times which are grinding to a snail’s pace at peak hours.

Investment needed to speed up journey times, says Bus Éireann manager

That is according to Bus Éireann regional manager, Martin Walsh, who says surveys show the average speed buses achieve during peak hours in bus lanes is around 22km/hr and where there is no bus lane it drops to 2-3km/hr.

Mr Walsh said that, each day, there are 2,637 bus movements through the city and 972 through the highly congested Patrick St. He said there are 25 pinch points in the city and suburbs which are holding up services.

“There needs to be serious investment in creating additional street space for bus lanes,” said Mr Walsh.

He said the percentage of missed trips rises between September and December, mainly because of an increase in schools and college traffic.

He made his comments at a meeting of the Ballincollig/Carrigaline municipal district council, where he addressed local public representatives who raised a number of issues about buses which are often late and sometimes do not turn up at all.

“The main issue is traffic congestion,” he said. “Cork [bus passenger] growth is greater than anywhere else in the country, including Dublin. We’ve hired over 100 drivers in the last four years.”

Mr Walsh said fares were also cut last December in a large part of Cork, which is adding to passenger levels.

He added that Bus Éireann is having to use more contractors and has notices up in depots asking its drivers to do overtime.

Independent councillor Marcia D’Alton said a park and ride facility should be created at Shannon Park, near Carrigaline to serve the thousands of employees working in Ringaskiddy. Mr Walsh agreed with her, but said it would not work unless a dedicated bus corridor is created along that road.

He was told that some recently-lengthened bus routes, which cover west-east and north to south suburb journeys, and vice versa, are leading to delays. Fine Gael councillor Derry Canty said this is particularly the case with the Ballincollig-Carrigaline service and people often miss vital connections. Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath said he got many complaints from people who missed exams or important appointments as a result.

Mr Walsh said the frequency of the 220 and 220x which serve the Carrigaline area will be increased later this year to every 15 minutes from the current 30 minutes.

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