A new private bus service approved by the National Transport Authority (NTA) is set to get underway in Cork at the end of next month and will connect the northside of the city at Apple Computers with Kent Station and the commercial and industrial hubs in Little Island.
It will be operated as 'Cork Connect' an addition to the successful 'Cobh Connect' brand - companies owned and operated by Barry's Coaches Ltd..
Thomas Kavanagh, managing director of Barry's Coaches, said the company had seen a massive demand from commuters to get a service that connects the major economic powerhouses on the north and eastern side of the city with the city centre and rail station.
The first bus of the day will leave Apple Computers Hollyhill plant at 6.15am, come through Gurranabraher, Upper John Street into the city centre, the railway station, and have a further stop in Tivoli before arriving in Little Island at 6.44am.
The first bus will leave Little Island a few minutes later to make the return journey to Hollyhill.
From 6.15am to 9.15am buses will run every 30 minutes. After that they will revert to hourly services.
The move could considerably help to reduce the number of cars which go in and out of Little Island on a daily basis.
There are 1,000 companies located there and it has been estimated that more than 18,000 people either work there or visit commercial premises there every day.
One of the main reasons people use their cars is because there is currently no bus service that goes into Little Island. Bus Éireann drops outside.
A survey recently carried out by the county council showed that just 7% of people travelling to Little Island use public transport. There is a train station there, but many don't use it because it would take too long to walk to parts of Little Island, especially on its southern side.
The new service will make stops at all the industrial estates.
Little Island Business Association (LIBA) chief executive Michael Mulcahy said he "wholeheartedly welcomed" the new service.
"The big problem up to now was there was no bus service into the island itself. The key thing is they will go all around the island. LIBA will give them every assistance possible and our hope would be that we could double the current figure for those taking public transport to and from Little Island with this service," Mr Mulcahy said.
He pointed out that the Cobh Connect service is a tremendous success as it made multiple stops in Cobh and Great Island as a whole "which makes it very passenger-friendly".
Mr Kavanagh said Cork County Council is currently helping to arrange for the addition of priority bus lanes in the Little Island area and for the provision of bus stops.
"We will be bringing four new buses onto the route and employing a further six drivers," Mr Kavanagh added.